Flying Scotsman

Fri. 19 May: 60103 “Flying Scotsman” is due to haul “The Cathedrals Express” south from Shrewsbury. I’d better go and see that. It’s a day of sunny intervals – there’s plenty of blue sky, but quite a lot of cloud too. These trains can sometime run a little late – but not on this occasion. It was one or two minutes early through All Stretton, which was a great pity – if it had been on time, the sun would have been shining…

Steam in the golden hour

dsc_0769Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries – “Santa Steam ’16” – photos and video from Sunday’s trip to the Severn Valley Railway, to see the Santa trains catching the golden light of a December afternoon.

The Whistling Pig

dsc_0361Just published to “Geoff’s Rail Diaries”, an account with pictures and video of our trip to the Forest of Dean last Saturday, to visit the Alan Keef open day and the Lea Bailey Light Railway. Viewers of the video will discover how the Lea Bailey EIMCO got its name “Whistling Pig”… Visit “Alan Keef and the Whistling Pig” – now!


monorailMonorails, in other words! Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries, “Monorail” – photos and an account of our visit to Nantmawr, to view the amazing collection of monorail equipment. Also – a ride on the standard gauge line, and a brief visit to the Cambrian Railways line at Llynclys

Staffin shore: Orcas

27th August ctd: After our visit to the Loch Shianta, we drive on to Staffin slip, park the car and wander across the saltings to the rocks. Rather than remain at our usual spot, we continue along the grassy upper shore below the cliffs. Soon, we can go no further – the jumble of huge boulders makes the shore virtually impassable. We stop for a while, and gaze out so sea – what’s that? Large fins break the surface… Glimpses of white patches identify them as orcas, also known as killer whales. There are no acrobatics, but they’re there for the best part of 20 minutes (the YouTube video below contains the edited highlights…).

Later that day, we’re back on the west side of Trotternish, watching the sun setting behind Harris, in an almost-perfect demonstration of the curvature of the earth.

Summer sunshine at Foxfield

DSC_0828…and despite the warmth, there’s plenty of visible steam*. It’s the weekend of the annual summer gala, and the weather forecast suggested Sunday would be the best day. It was – an excellent day out. Visit “Foxfield summer gala” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries for more photos and a short video clip (remember to turn up the volume!)

*I know – steam is invisible. The fluffy white stuff coming from the chimney is water droplets, suspended in the air, which don’t always form on warm days…

Taking flight…

Sunday 24 April 2016: let’s step back just over 12 months: “He’s sent us vouchers for a helicopter trip!”. The facial expression said it all – I think she nearly took flight there and then… With a busy summer ahead and lots of unknowns, we didn’t get round to redeeming them until the autumn. The first booking was cancelled due to the weather – as was the second, and the third, and… (it’s reassuring really). Eventually, we made it, and with plenty of time to get used to the idea, “we” were quite looking forward to the flight. “Is that it? It’s tiny!”. Yes, a very modern-looking (I’m no expert) little four-seater job – driver and three passengers.

We’re flying from Halfpenny Green – “Wolverhampton Airport”, though its WW2 origins are still pretty obvious. We’re strapped in (car-type seat belts) in minutes and away – and despite the clattering of rotor blades while we waited to board, it’s quiet and peaceful (thanks partly to the headphones, I guess) – a very relaxing way to travel over the Shropshire countryside, bobbing and swaying gently in the breeze, with little sense of forward motion. First we’re heading for Bridgnorth, then turning to fly above the Severn, passing Stanley Hall, the fishing lakes at The Boldings and Apley Hall. Soon Broseley is over to our left, and in moments we’re above Ironbridge. As we pass the power station, we begin to turn back, viewing the huge bends upstream in the Severn before buzzing Benthall Hall and skirting Broseley again. Staying west of the river, we’re soon looking down on Bridgnorth, then Chelmarsh reservoir and, crossing the river, Dudmaston Hall. Not far to go now – losing height again to make a gentle landing back at Halfpenny Green. What a great trip! Many, many thanks, T. “When can we go again?” ‘Nuff said!

Foxfield: the movie

DSC_0879Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries – photos and video of yesterday’s great day beside the fearsome incline out of Foxfield colliery. Visit “Foxfield 2015 – the Autumn Gala

The Scot and the Brit

DSC_0778Just published to Geoff’s Rail Diaries, photos (a few) and video of yesterday’s trip to the Severn Valley’s autumn gala – starring, among others, 46100 Royal Scot and 70000 Britannia. Visit “The Scot and the Brit” – now!

Large and little

Yorkshire “Janus” no 1 at Scunthorpe

It was a busy weekend – on Saturday, we were booked for a brake-van trip around Scunthorpe steel works – and we had “the works” too – a 5-hour trip around the site, taking in the main lines, branches, spurs and sidings. Great fun!

7¼" gauge NER Class C 0-6-0 no 22

7¼” gauge NER Class C 0-6-0 no 22

– and then on Sunday, we paid a brief visit to Gilling East, home of the Ryedale Society of Model Engineers. At the other end of the scale from Scunthorpe, it was fun too. We need to go again to do justice to it.

For more on both trips, visit “Appleby Frodingham” and “Gilling East” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries

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