Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer

~Garsdale to Kirkby Stephen~

25th May 2019


6201 "Princess Elizabeth"

6201 Princess Elizabeth Hellifield Station

After much consideration, I decided to tackle one of the station-to-station walks on the Settle/Carlisle Railway. The weather forecast suggested a general decline in conditions and my plan included seeing today's steam-hauled charter train on each of its journeys up and down the line. Princess Elizabeth arrived from Carnforth and found a way around the station to top up with water before the train she would pull arrived from Norwich. Our service train - the 10:13 - to Carlisle arrives with passengers already standing in the walkways. "They" can accept a booking for 40+ scouts, but they cannot find an extra carriage or two. Longstanding systemic failures which frequently disappoint everyone from the passengers to the ordinary rail staff. Paul, the guard, did a great job in placating the disgruntled and often apologised for what was clearly not his fault. I think this paragraph could be the longest I have ever written on the website!

Garsdale Railway Station

Garsdale Railway Station

Plenty of seats now I don't need one, lots of passengers left the train at Horton and Ribblehead. Two hours to get to somewhere near Ais Gill to see the steam train, what could possibly go wrong?

Major Detour

The very first field on Garsdale Low Moor was populated by cows with calves and the farmer had put up a notice to warn walkers. Such was enough for me to take the tarmac route into Grisedale, adding at least a mile to the walk and jeopardising the timetable.

Dandrymire Viaduct

Dandrymire Viaduct

A freight train heads south over Dandrymire Viaduct.


The road into Grisedale is quite easy to follow and although the forest looks to continue from one photo to the next, this is not the case as it's one road, earlier then later.

Grisedale Chapel

Chapel House, Grisedale

The "old" Methodist Chapel (right) and barn (left) can be rented for holiday use. Google away for further details (other search engines are available); it's a little remote which would suit some folk, but maybe not enough going on for the majority.


Reachey, Grisedale

A "Grand Design" if ever there was one.

High Shaw Paddock

High Shaw Paddock

We left Grisedale by way of a footpath heading North-East from East House, the railway line is in view and we might just make it to Ais Gill.

Steam Train

LMS "Princess Elizabeth" No.6201

The "Pennine Limited" heads north and is seen here from a comfortable lunch spot on a limestone outcrop. The bridge over the railway at Ais Gill Moor cottages is about 200yds further north from here and the very popular viewpoint of Cotegill Bridge is a little further on.

Steam at Ais Gill


Ais Gill Railway

Wild Boar Fell

From the crossing at Ais Gill Moor cottages (where once there was a tea room). We now have 3hrs and 40mins to get to Kirkby Stephen Station to see the train returning south from Carlisle - later map measurements revealed we were 4.5 miles into a 13 mile walk, so 8.5 miles to go.

To Kirkby Stephen....

Wild Boar Fell up there on the left. A feature of the following walk was the high number of gates and stiles, some requiring me to haul Molly over and some difficult to open.



The higher reaches of The Eden Valley is known as Mallerstang; it has started to rain.

Hanging Lund

Hanging Lund Farmhouse

Just here, we took a path down to the raod; we could have carried on with the paths on this side of the valley for a while longer, but ultimately it is inevitable as all paths descend to the road sooner or later.



Tarmac for a few hundred yards. Many years ago, there was a pub further down this stretch of road, but it's not there now.

River Eden

River Eden


The first of many fields to cross on the west side of the beck. The path goes beneath the trees and up to Hazelgill. Keen observors will notice a railway bridge up there in the top left corner.


The combination of dull weather with light rain, a tough timetable and numerous gates and stiles rather took the edge off the walk. Still it's a test of mental and physical resolve with no opportunity to stop for a rest.

River Eden



At Shoregill there are several homes, pity none of them offer a self-service refreshment facility like the "Ramblers Shack" on the Fremington Edge walks. Ah well, more gates, fields, sheep and stiles....

Birkett Common

Birkett Common

A welcomming track contours around Birkett Common.

River Eden

River Eden

We head off to the remains of Lammerside Castle en route to Wharton Hall.

Lammerside Castle

Lammerside Castle (disused)

An old wreck dating back to C13th ish, where is the visitor centre? It should be bigged-up with infoboards, guided tours and a small cafe.


Nearly there now, we have walked past Wharton Hall which is a fine old building to look at, but entirely private. This trench looks man-made and to me it looked as though we were walking into a field containing cows - the black dot near the centre of the photo. Luckily a fence kept us apart from the cows and calves.

Station Walk

Fifteen minutes until the steam train is due. My will to continue is being challenged by the steady rain, sore feet and a desire for a cup of tea or something.

Princess Elizabeth

Southbound "Pennine Limited"

Three railway photographers on the northound platform (left as you look), not in the photo berated a fare-paying punter for standing on the platform. Cheeky buggers and they nearly got their comeuppance when a service train arrived and threatened to ruin their photoshoot. In the event the diesel powered units departed and less than one minute later the steam train arrived. If those with cameras want an uninterrupted view they should go and stand in a field or on a hillside! Believe it or not, the platforms are for passengers not these grumpy gricers!

Kirkby Stephen Railway Station

6201 at Kirkby Stephen

In the event, the train was receiving a helpful push from a diesel locomotive at the rear - I suspect the heavy set of carriages plus the slippy rails were just a bit too much for the steam locomotive. There is not a cafe at or anywhere near Kirkby Stephen railway station.

Time taken: 6hrs over a distance of about 13.5 miles.

Route: Garsdale Station - tarmac route into Grisedale, Grisedale Common, Rowan Tree Side, High Shaw Paddock, Ais Gill Cottages, Slade Edge, Hanging Lund, River Eden in Mallerstang, Hazelgill, Deep Gill, Shoregill, lots more gills, loads of fences and stiles, Birkett Common track, Lammerside Castle, more fields, Halfpenny House - Station Walk to Kirkby Stephen Station.

Weather and conditions: Hazy sunshine declining to light and hence steady rain.

Refeshment Review: A route devoid of opportunities for tea and/or cakes.

Every so often I take leave of my senses and embark on a walk I fear I might not enjoy, but I want to take on the challenge - sometimes I am proved wrong and I reach my destination with a happy feeling of fulfilment. Today this was not the case.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2019 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....