Monday, 21 December 2009

Snowy Steamy Santa Salutations!


A very snowy Sunday (i.e. yesterday) we decided to risk a drive up to the highest market town in the UK (i.e. Alston). Normally a thirty minute drive from where we are.

We were advised to go via Haydon Bridge and then up through Whitfield.

Northumberland County Council (just turned into one unitary council) is counting its pennies (our old Tynedale Council had a £20m surplus). Roads are now not being gritted...and this one across the moors is high, windy and can be dicey....

We saw a Land Rover on its back in a ditch beside the road upended. It did look sad, lost and abandoned.

We got there in the end....and we were some of the last people in 2009 to have a ride on the steam train up at Alston on the South Tynedale railway. (Northern Britain's highest narrow gauge railway...)

In one of the photos...you can see a snowstorm up on the moor closing in...

























































A view from the car of Alston. The railway is manned entirely by volunteers. When we arrived at 1.40p.m. little did we know that we would catch the last train journey (to see Santa) for 2009!


















































































A view of the fields from the Buffet car...complete with tinsel!




















A lovely shot looking up at fields which contain the buried Roman fort of Whitley Castle (known as Epiacum in Roman times). It is thought that the Romans built the fort on the Maiden Way so that they could quarry the local mines for lead and silver. The Romans dreamt that Britannia contained untold mineral riches and in the main they were right...




And again with a little more sun...


The train stops at Kirkhaugh where they turn the locomotive around. It is a short train ride of about 45 minutes all told. We all get out at Kirkhaugh and realise how cold it is outside the train...but oh, how snowy, festive, wintry and breathtakingly beautiful....! We feel honoured to be there and to be able to experience it all.













The loco "Helen Kathryn" is reversed back on to the "front" of the train.




































We're back at Alston station and the platform is deserted. The next train ride was cancelled due to severe weather conditions and because the staff had to get home before the darkness and ice slithered in.....











Santa's grotto is in the engine sheds. They also have a German model railway complete with a little Santa Claus driving the train.














Who's been good this year?
Will Santa get stuck up a chimney?









The elves have been busy...

















Here's Santa waving to everyone and wreathed in steam, soot and snow...



Wishing everyone once again a very merry Christmas! A very special Christmas salutation to all my regular readers/bloggers. I'm hoping to visit everyone's blog over the coming weeks.
May 2010 bring us all lots of laughter, joy and fun!!!
Merry Christmas in the best tradition of Slade....altogether now....."Sooooo...here it is...Merry Christmas...everybody's having fun. Look to the future now...it's only just BEGGGGUUUNNNNNUNNNNNNNNUNNNNNNNNNNNNN!"
"MERRY CHRISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!"

14 comments:

the fly in the web said...

Boy are you bouyant!

Wonderful photos...and I love the people who keep the pre Beeching lines open.

Enjoy yourselves...you can beat 2009...2010 is full of promise.

French Fancy said...

Oh what a lovely collection of festive photos, H. And what fun to travel on a steam train. The last one I went on was up in Yorkshire somewhere - Goathland - or something like that. Also manned by volunteers. It must be a real labour of love for men who have that rail fanatic gene.

Anyway I wish you and the family a lovely Christmas and a year ahead where all your problems dissolve into the air and health and opportunity are awaiting you.

x

Dumdad said...

Fab fotos! I thought we had a lot of snow in Paris but it's just a sprinkling compared to you.

And I LOVE these sort of trains. In fact, I love trains full stop. Which, unfortunately, has been happening to Eurostar and trains everywhere.

2010 - let's hope we all have a better year.

Joyeux Noël!

Word veri: pickledr

Which is what we all become during the Christmas hols...

Denise said...

What a lovely post with so many beautiful photographs. The train ride must have been wonderful and thanks for taking us along. Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year to you and your family.

Troy said...

That narrow gauge railway is a well kept secret (well until now!) as I'd never heard of it. Great photos, great scenery.

Have a wonderful Christmas and my very best wishes that 2010 proves to be a annus mirabilis for all at Chez Hadriana.

Suburbia said...

Merry Christmas to you too :)

Lovely pics, thanks for sharing

Expat mum said...

Great Photos. You're doing a fab job of representin' the North East, but shush - they might all discover the secret.
Merry Xmas and Happy NY bonnie lass.

Willow said...

Hadriana, A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from my little cottage in Southern California! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your greeting. We still dream of another visit to Hadrian's Wall!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2010 from Willow and The Professor!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Merry Christmas to one and all! Thanks for popping by. Hopefully I should be able to read a few blogs and bloggers over the Yuletide season!

Wishing everyone a very happy 2010!
Hadriana xx

Gill - That British Woman said...

well that was a blast from the past, its been a number of years since we have been on Alston railway. It actually looks like Canada with all that snow. I posted more photos today, as we got another layer of snow yesterday.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, its been a joy getting to know more about you this year.

Gill in Canada

Sarah said...

And a merry christmas to you, too!
xxx

kestrel said...

Thanks for the interesting pics - it will never snow here and if it did i would prob freeze to death cos we are use to 30 C everyday. I love the pics of snow on the trees and the cool train. Kind of seems too cold to be going out. Merry Christmas and have a great 2010

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Gill, Sarah and Kestrel...hope you had a good one. We've had a super Christmas. Grandpa South is staying with us and it's been very enjoyable having him here.

We've also had a bunch of Mexicans staying with us (in the B&B) and they've had a "fantastico" time! Lots of nice comments written in the Guest Book...which I am definitely going to write up and get published on our website (finally)....

roy said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Claudia

http://lioneltrains.info