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" Eskdale and Stanley Gill Force "

Date & start time: Monday  27th October 2015, 12.30 pm start.

Location of Start : Muncaster Mill Station, Cumbria, Uk (SD 096 977)

Places visited : Stanley Force, St Catherine's Church, Boot Village and water mill.

Walk details :   2 mls,  300 feet of ascent, 1 hour 45 mins.

Highest point : Stanley Force, 484 ft - 148m above sea level at Ravenglass.

Walked with : Rhian and Gareth, Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : A lovely autumnal day.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


Gareth wanted to show Rhian La'al Ratti Railway in West Cumbria and that would combine nicely

with a walk up to Stanley Gill Force, the waterfall near the Dalegarth Station at the head of the Eskdale line.

Plenty to do and see on this day out in Eskdale.

Our day out started at Muncaster Mill . . . almost like 'Constable Country' in appearance today.

You feel there ought to be a Hay Wain and Carthorse in the river

We hadn't checked the rail timetable before we left home but our arrival coincided with the 12.30 train at Muncaster Mill.

This meant that we were able to get on without panicking about finding a parking space at Ravenglass.

Rhian and Gareth are with us for the long weekend . . . but I think I've mentioned that !

The Ravenglass train turned out to be delayed due to the late arrival of a main line excursion . . . so we needn't have panicked.

Here she comes, double-headed due to the extra bank holiday carriages.

All paid up and we're on our way . . .
. . . entering the passing-loop near Miteside.

Due to the crowds we were unable to sit together in one carriage.

Ann was up front with a chap who was born in her home town of Bridgend, Rhian and Gareth were in the third carriage (yes that's her !)

and I had the unusual pleasure of riding the guard's van complete with our two dogs, first aid kit, emergency brake and all the gubbins !

[ the guard was enjoying the delights of the open carriage behind as there was only one seat available out there and the dogs and I needed more space]

The view from the guard's van window . . .
. . . and from the open door.

The railway relies on a small permanent staff and loads of volunteers to keep the line in good condition and the trains running on time.

The bend and road bridge as we enter Irton Road Station.

Our two engines today . . . the River Mite and the second (green) engine, the River Irt . . . both named after local rivers.

Fell End Crags over the houses of Eskdale Green . . . Belted Galloway cattle in the pasture alongside the line.

The King George IV Inn across the fields.

Fisher Ground and their famous campsite, as immortalised in the book "Living the Dream" by Ian Hall.

It is one of very few campsites that has its own railway station.

Onward up the valley . . . pulling hard against the continual gradient.

Close to the road as it nears Beckfoot.

All too soon we are at Dalegarth . . . the end of the line.

Disembarkation as they start to turn the locos . . . time for a stretch !

This lady was on holiday with her barn owl . . . one up on being a 'not-just-dog-friendly' railway line.

The Controller checks out the line before the engine swaps to the other end of the train for the return journey.

The River Irt . . . close up.

[ The change around will give you chance to trim your nails if you are returning to Ravenglass on the next service.]

We opt for a short walk of a mile or so across the valley to Stanley Force.

Leaving the station we walked down the road to the village hall and turned right to the war memorial.

The hill behind held commercial supplies of iron ore which was the lifeblood of the line in early days.

The Dalegarth War Memorial.

When we looked at it there was something different about it

but it wasn't till I looked our previous photo from 2012 (above)

did I discover that the stone wall was the thing that had changed.

Our route took us over the Trough House Bridge, which leads over to Dalegarth House a little further on.

This is obviously a fine place for a picnic and a swim when the weather and the water is a bit warmer.

It is a superb Autumn day but Scafell has a topping of cloud, hovering above its near neighbour, Slight Side.

The sign at the start of Stanley Ghyll valley.
Autumn colours and a large evergreen Rhododendron tree.

Harry makes for the water . . . what a surprise.

However I am surprised that he found it under all those fallen leaves.

The valley narrows into a gorge
. . . then the first bridge
. . . then the second.

Finally a third bridge back over the river, in the middle of which was a step-stile, tricky when wet !

. . . and it is always wet in this temperate rain forest.
But our reward is the view of the waterfall.
You may like it captured in time . . .
. . . or turned to a curtain by a longer exposure.

Gareth offers Rhian a hand down over the slippery stones.

Portrait by the falls . . . by Dad
Our visit completed, we return down the valley.

Ann pauses while a giant turtle crosses the path.


Time for a quick spot of lunch, more of a snack really

whilst sitting at the picnic table

down once more in the lower section of the woods.


- - - o o o - - -


St Catherine's Church

the famous church nestles in the valley next to the river, a classic set of stepping stones allowing churchgoers (and us) to cross.

Ann and Rhian take to the stones

Harry prefers the relative safety of the river itself.



Gareth and I tried walking across backward . . . just for the fun of it.

No, actually we were asked to turn around for a photo.

Two associated gravestones . . .
. . . both for the Porter family

Inside the church is decorated with Autumn leaves.

Another window . . . .
. . . with a historic 15th century bell.

The Brooke House Inn back in Boot Village.

Always a great place for a beer and a meal if you have time.

We walked up into the village, past the Boot Inn, likewise a popular eating establishment.

We walked through to the top of the village where the road narrows over an old bridge.

The track from here on makes its way across the moorland to Burnmoor Tarn and eventually to Wasdale.

The building on the opposite side is the old mill,

now the last remaining working mill in the lake District.

The earliest records of milling on this site is 1294, but it is thought a mill existed here for over a thousand years.

The mill is special in that it has two overshoot wheels driving two millstones.

The second wheel and stone was added to mill wheat and the process needed a different (continental) millstone to work efficiently.

The mill is still in working order . . .
and Rhian and I paid a modest charge . . .
. . . to enjoy a walk around the mill.

Outside, the two large 12ft overshoot wheels driven by water from Whillan Beck.

The water leat, elevated in its end section . . .
. . . full of water to drive the wheels.
They are introducing a third wheel to generate hydro electricity.

One local resident has free-range eggs for sale.

For those with a mathematical bent . . . check out the bargain price when ordering larger quantities !

Time to be heading back to the station.

Decked out for Halloween (in a few days time) we call in at the cafe . . .

. . . and enjoyed a pot of tea while we relaxed and waited for the next train.

The River Irt  returns with the last but one train of the day.

Turned around and just topping up with water for the return trip.

Time to stoke up the fire with coals . . .
. . . everything checked out and ready to go.

Perhaps a bit more stoking as it is a single engine for this trip . . .

Hold your cursor over the left hand picture to throw a few more coals in the firebox.

With four of us and the two dogs in a space no larger than a sardine tin . . . we're off.

Heading off for Beckfoot through the trees.

The late sun adds a beautiful yellow hue to the colours.

Ahead is the cutting and sharp curve before Hollin Head Cottage.

Close up of Rhian and Gareth . . . no chance of standing further back to take the shot.

Full steam ahead as we power on towards Fisher Ground.

Eskdale Green station ahead as we pass under the road bridge.

Passing the posh houses on the outskirts of Eskdale Green Village.

The sun ahead and lights up the steam from the funnel.
Rhian has obviously enjoyed the day.

Apart from the cramped conditions, Dylan has too.

Harry spent the entire journey on the floor under our feet,

but with a clear view of the passing scenery from the open foot well, he seemed to be coping fine.

The final up-train of the day is diesel hauled and it waits for us to pass at Irton Road Station loop.

Late afternoon sun lights up a spectacular lenticular cloud above the central fells.

Downhill now as we pass alongside Muncaster Fell.

No stopping at Miteside Halt . . .
. . .  but hopefully we will at Muncaster Mill.

The Mill is now a private residence

and unfortunately no longer open for viewing.


This was in fact our final stop

and time to disembark.


- - - o o o - - -


With one empty open-top compartment

at the front of the train

and a few strong puffs of steam into the air

the train was on its way to Ravenglass.



. . . and we were ready to make our own way home.


- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon 1100D Digital SLR or Gareth's iPhone.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a mobile phone signal and an internet train timetable to catch that first train.

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Previous walk - 24th - 26th October 2015 - Gareth and Rhian's Visit

A previous time up here - 10th November 2012 La'al Ratty and Stanley Gill Falls 2012

Next walk - 1st November 2015 - Autumn Mosser Road