Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer


29th April 2017


"Middle Garsdale"

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Hellifield Station Hellifield Signal Box
Hellifield Station
Hellifield Signal Box

Today's Settle/Carlisle Line adventure starts with the 09:40hrs departure from Hellifield in a northerly direction. It happens to be a few minutes late, which is unusual for this service, we arrive at Garsdale Station at 10:33hrs. The train was very busy between Settle and Ribblehead, but everyone seemed to be able to sit down thereafter.

Garsdale Railway Station

Garsdale Railway Station

Now, unless you haven't already guessed, we're here to watch a steam-hauled charter train. The timings are different today and we have about two hours to occupy, so my plan is to find a way of getting to the southern portal of Risehill tunnel.

Garsdale Telepone Box

Garsdale Telecommunications Centre

I hadn't told Mrs R. where I was going, but then I hadn't actually decided myself when Molly and I headed out of the house at 07:45hrs. For the record, we went up Pendle Hill whilst I was deciding what to do. So I tried to make a call from the "no cash" phone box. I gave up when the "operator" asked me too many questions about my debit card; they asked for my card number, 3 digits and then name - I told them I was not prepared to give my name.

Garsdale old Road Knudmaning

Garsdale Old Road

For anyone who knows Garsdale, they will be familiar with the main road, but there is also the "old road" and it allows walkers an almost traffic-free route down the upper parts of Garsdale. The farm on the right is called Knudmaning.

Northbound Train

The next train for Carlisle heads towards Garsdale Station on a contour of approx 360m; that's about 1,180ft above sea level in old money.


Raygill (farm)

For those of us dedicated to using paper maps rather than screen-based navigation, the age-old problem of walking from map territory to another map with no overlap is very frustrating. The footpath appears to go through the farm territory and there was nobody about to suggest otherwise. Then the lines of where we should and should not be walking became blurred.

Risehill Northern Portal

Risehill Tunnel Northern Portal

As luck would have it, we walked up through some forestry and found the railway line. My intention had always been to get to the other end and as it happens, there is no safe and legal place to stand and take a photo of trains emerging from this end of the tunnel. The tunnel length is stated as being 1,213ft and there was enough time left to get over the hill to the other end.

Risehill Tips

The tips seem to be the result of tunnel shafts and excavation. Just up here I received a text from my bank about recent transactions and the a very recent one was not authorized by me. So I rang them and big do's and little do's, my attempt to make a phone call from Garsdale phone box had resulted in nefarious activity on my account. Just how, I have no idea. But the bank stopped my card and was able to halt the illegal transaction. So Beware! And, yes, I have tried to contact BT to tell them, but I think I have better chance of finding Lord Lucan, so I have given up.

Risehill Tunnel

Risehill Tunnel Southern End

You might have thought that after such travails, the reward would be having the place to ourselves...


The trainspotters are just the wrong side of the fence, but the wrong side is the wrong side! The risk of a southbound train interfering with the view of the northbound steam train disappears as the service train heads to Dent Station.



Dent Station carries a 30mph speed limit due to the lack of a footbridge or underpass, hence steam trains need to open the regulator as they climb towards the tunnel.

Whernside and Train


Tornado Steam Train

LNER A1 Class 4-6-2 no 60163 Tornado

It may seem odd to you, that I have driven to Hellifield, taken the train to Garsdale, walked a difficult route to this point to witness an event that is over in less than a minute. It is odd, but odder still is the case of the two men from Birmingham who have come some distance further to stand right here. Each unto their own...

To Garsdale (middle bit)

The map shows a bridleway from Cowgill in Dentdale to the middle section of Garsdale. It's not a lot of fun.

Lower Garsdale Dandra Garth
Middle Garsdale
House at Dandra Garth

Well, here we find ourselves in the central section of Garsdale and necessarily had to walk up the main road for a bit, before rejoining the old road for a quiet treck back to the station.


Dandy Mire Viaduct

Garsdale Station and Dandy Mire Viaduct

Garsdale Railway Station

Garsdale Railway Station

Maybe this is the only railway station in the UK or even the world to house a complete volume of Encyclopedia Brittanica, or maybe you know differently....

Encyclopedia Brittanica

Learn Whilst You Wait

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Route: Garsdale Railway Station, Old Road to Raygill, up to the railway line and over Risehill Tunnel to the Southern Portal. Bridleway to Garsdale and then back up the valley to the Old Road and hence Garsdale Station.

Weather: Not quite sunny, not warm and not cold.

Time Taken: 4hrs 30mins over a distance of about 9 miles.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2017 ©

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