Church Stretton to Craven Arms

We’d thought of doing this by using the train, leaving the car at Craven Arms – then realised we could make the same journey free of charge using our bus passes… An interesting trip too – not entirely along the A49, the Minsterley Motors 435 service uses some very narrow lanes through Wistanstow and Bushmoor. Who’d be a bus driver in south-west Shropshire?

Starting out from the bus stop in Church Stretton, we aim for the top of Ragleth Hill for lunch. We’d have got there quicker if we’d spotted the waymark roundels at the foot of Poplar Drive. Later, after lunch, we find ourselves taking another little detour at Hatton Wood, where the correct path isn’t the obvious one. Soon mended. After the Apedale prairies, we’ve another short climb ahead of us, onto the Wenlock Edge beyond Wolverton. It’s a very enjoyable walk through the trees along here, before we drop down to Strefford and follow the Quinny brook, and later the Onny, back to Craven Arms. On the sound principle that these things come in threes, we take yet another wrong turning where, once again, the obvious route is the wrong one. By the time we arrive in Craven Arms, we’ve earned those ice creams. But what an enjoyable walk! Plenty of variety, and a perfect day for it.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=344805&Y=288161&A=Y&Z=126

Staffordshire Centenarians

100 years old: Stanhope

Sun. 14 May – a birthday celebration in Staffordshire. Stanhope and Diana are both 100 this year; their friends Joffre and no 9, also actively attending, are 101 years old. Roger will be 100 next year – and his little friend Jennie is just 12 years old… Yes, it’s the Apedale “Stanhope” gala weekend. For more pictures, and (a little) more on the day’s events, visit “More Birthdays at Apedale” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

More steamy birthdays

Birthday boys
Birthday boys

We’ve been to Apedale today, for their mini-gala celebrating the 100th birthdays of two of their locomotives (I’m not sure when the two actually steamed for the first time, but they were built in 1916) – the Kerr Stuart “Joffre” and the Hudswell Clarke no 104. Both were in fine form, steaming well, as was their fellow “Stanhope”. Stanhope is a mere 99 years old, so had to wait down the line while the birthday boys had their cake (coal and wood with Polyfilla icing). Next year perhaps? For more about the day, and several more photos, visit “299 years of steam” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

100 years later

Motor Rails galoreApedale again – for Tracks to the Trenches: six fine steam locomotives in action, mostly dating from WW1, and an uncountable (they won’t stay still for long enough) number of Motor Rails of similar vintage. The first TTTT was in September 2014 – the icon of the event proved to be the Motor Rail in the shell crater. There it was again! Has it been there since the last event, poor thing? If it has, Joffre at Apedale Roadit’s turned itself round in the intervening period. An excellent afternoon – well done, once again, the Moseley Railway Trust. There will be a “Rail Diaries” page in a day or two, in the meantime, here are a couple of tasters.

Apedale Valley Railway

Tracks to the Trenches…

Baldwin at Apedale…was great fun – an excellent afternoon’s entertainment provided by the Moseley Railway Trust at their Apedale Valley Railway. There really were 2’0″ gauge tracks running to real trenches, WW1-style. It’s amazing how much railway equipment (a) has survived from the First World War, and (b) was assembled at Apedale for the event.

There will be many more photos, on the Rail Diaries, in due course – but not for a day or two. Tomorrow it’s Statfold. In the meantime, here’s a sample – Baldwin 4-6-0T no. 778 (BLW 44656 of 1917) in action on the Apedale main line.

Apedale Valley Light Railway

A welcome return to steam

DSC_0826There have been some remarkable restorations and rebuilds in recent years (some wonderful new builds too). Surely the most unlikely rebuild to date is this one – Hudswell Clarke 1238 of 1916 fell into a river in Ghana, during a storm in 1948. It lay there, abandoned and forgotten, for 48 years. Today, at the Statfold Barn Railway, it made its formal return to active service for its owners, the Moseley Railway Trust. For more on today’s events, visit “1238 – Welcome Back” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries, and for more details of the project, visit this page on the Moseley Railway Trust’s Fleet List.

Moseley Railway Trust
Apedale Valley Railway
Statfold Barn Railway