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Alston, South Tynedale Railway footpath, Kirkhaugh, Lintley, Slaggyford,
Cumbria & Northumberland.

[8.4 km]  Thu 12 Dec 2019

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 09:10am.

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.

Alston Market
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

Leaving Alston
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

Lintley Halt
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.
When the 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.
In about 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.
A new 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 ahead.

Final approach to Slaggyford

Slaggyford Station this morning

Slaggyford Station Wed 3rd June 2015

Slaggyford platform and Buffet Car
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