Lat/Long: 54.864718, -02.506292
OS Grid ref: NY 67602 52333
The weather forecast was
bad for Cumbria with wind and rain all day. The Alston area
looked a bit better with winds but no rain until the afternoon.
I thought a walk along the South Tyne trail that runs between
Alston and Slaggyford would be interesting. The route is around
5 miles so I thought it made sence to leave the car at
Slaggyford by the refurbished Raile Station and catch the bus to
Alston then walk back. The bus stops each way were close
together on the map and I clicked the wrong one as it gave
Arriving in Alston
I thought that was for the first bus to Alston, it was actually
from Alston. It is the General Election day and the polls donít
open until 7am which wouldnít give me enough time to get there
so I decided to vote on the way home. It was a windy drive north
along the M6 motorway and over Hartside Pass there was some
fresh snow on the ground. I reached Slaggyford and was
pleasantly surprised to see the rail tracks had reached the
refurbished station and a new gated level crossing fitted. They
werenít here the last time I was but they were working on the
car park which is now finished. I asked a couple of local if the
bus to Alston was running and they said they thought so. It was
just before 9am when I reached the road but there was no bus
stop sign. I waited where I thought it should be. About 09:05 a
man came out of a house and I asked him about the bus. He said
the 09:10 comes from Alson and itís the one he was about to
catch. The next Alston bus wasnít till afternoon. Iíd made a
mistake and resigned myself to walking both ways. The 09:10 from
Alston came and went. A bus came through the village heading for
Alston so I put my hand out but he didnít stop. Presumably itís
a school bus. I set off walking south and hadnít gone far when
another bus came my way. I put my hand out and I was amazed that
he stopped. He was heading for Alston an when I asked how much
he said nothing. It must have been another School bus. We
reached Alston and I got off by the central market shelter.
A stallholder was there selling vegetables and fruit. The first
Market Cross was erected in 1764, rebuilt 1883; knocked down and
re-erected in 1970 and again in 1981. There was an inscription
on a newish marble plaque but it was almost unreadable.
Apparently the text is from the original inscription now in
Parish Church which reads:
This Market Cross was erected by
The Right Honourable SR WILLIAM STEPHENSON Kn born at Cross
Lands in this Parish and elected LORD MAYOR OF LONDON 1764.
I set off walking down the street and right at the bottom of the
hill. I continued down Station Road to the Railway Station
entrance and down to the buildings. The station cafť seemed to
be open. A few volunteer workers were about and a train&
carriages at the station platform but no journeys were imminent.
I crossed the level crossing and right to follow the path with
the fence and tracks on my right.
Entrance to the Railway Station
Alston Station Platform
There were some railway buildings and siding further along but
then I was into open countryside. It was overcast and felt cold
in the wind but pleasant walking. After a crossing point and
less than a mile was a path off to the right that went up into
some trees and a picnic area. I stopped to have a butty and kept
the other out to eat as I continued walking along the railway.
A stone bridge took the railway over Gilderdale Burn and crossed
from the old Cumberland into Northumberland. An appropriate sign
on the bridge marked the location.
Cumberland - Northumberland border
I continued to the platform halt at Kirkhaugh where I could
see a cyclist and touring bike on the platform by the shelter.
He said heíd been in Kielder forest yesterday and there was deep
snow. Today he was heading for Cross Fell. I was puzzled by the
location of this stop as there was no road access.
Kirkhaugh Halt and solo touring cyclist
The next stop was Lintley Halt where a section or rail had been
removed. There was no direct road access but there was a path
leading to a road parking area. I noticed some large concrete
blocks and an excavated brick structure. An information board
told the story of the lead ore and coal being brought here by
aerial ropeway. The descriptive text is below.
Manor of Barhaugh was sold in 1850 one of the features used to
attract buyers was the rich bounty of lead ironstone and other
mineral veins, coal and lime which lay underground.
1912 Frederick Marshall Dryden, and architect from Newcastle set
up the Barhaugh Anthracite & Limestone Co. Ltd. Frederick's two
brothers lived here - John at Baraugh Hall and Herbert at Dewlwy
Field near Blackcleaugh. A drift mine was opened at Blackcleugh
Little Burn and a quarry nearby at Barhaugh Burn.
innovation was a Loading Station - a steel-framed structure with
jigging screens and a storage hoppers different sizes of coal.
Coal was transported from the entrance of the drift mine to the
Loading Station by an aerial ropeway system. A second aerial
ropeway took the coal and limestone from the Loading Station to
the North Eastern Railway sidings, three quarters of a mile
away, at Lintley.
Remains of the Ropeway Terminus
Weighbridge and Gantry 1938
I continued along the path until I could see the new
level crossing gates on the final approach to Slaggyford. I had
a look on the Slaggyford Station platform and buffet car at the
far siding. It looks like the rail lines finish a short way
Final approach to Slaggyford
Slaggyford Station this morning
Slaggyford Station Wed 3rd June
Slaggyford platform and Buffet Car