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The only clue that Ricky 52 had given us about the The Mystery Trip, was that 'Some people would have done it already, Some will have wanted to do it, and some might do it again'!!!
As we swung into the car park all was revealed!!! - we were to board our reserved carriage to travel by steam train from Oxenhope, where we were standing, to Keighley and back!!! (Well I'd done it already, had wanted to do it again, and will probably do it again one day)
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) is staffed by around 100 qualified volunteers, who keep the trains running, maintain the lines and stations as well as providing catering facillities, admin/marketing and sales etc. 2008 was the 40th Anniversary of the KWVR. There were special events to celebrate - Steam Gala weekends- 10-12th October 08 and 14-16th February 2009. October 24-26th 2008 there was a Beer and Music weekend
On selected Saturday evening and Sunday afternoons 'White Rose Dining Trains' are in service- a chance to enjoy a meal served in a 1950s dining carriage
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th October - Autumn Steam Gala
Thursday 21st - Sunday 24th October - Beer & Music Festival
Pre-Christmas Weekends - Santa Specials
Boxing Day - Monday 3rd January 2011 - Mince Pie Specials
Check the website for more info about these and Santa Specials, Carol Singing etc.
The line was built in 1867 by local mill owners to transport raw and finished materials. In 1924 it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, then British Rail in 1948, who closed this branch on 1st January 1961 as part of its cut backs!
Locals opposed to the closure, formed a railway preservation society in March '62 . A subsequent Company formed to buy the Line outright, lease access to Keighley station and operate a regular public service.
However, it wasn't until 1968, that passenger trains ran again.
The popularity of the film 'The Railway Children' in 1970, brought scores of visitors to the area to see the location, where many of the iconic scenes were filmed. Even today, you can hear women of a certain age standing on the station platforms crying "Daddy, My Daddy" - Oakworth station is where the scene was filmed.
Pick up a copy of the KWVR Visitor Information pamphlet and you'll find a map showing location points and a Railway Children Walk. There are guided Railway Children Walks, including August Bank Holiday 2010, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the film. There is also the chance to spend a day as Mr Perks - opening and closing the gates, operating the signals etc.
The line passes through 'Bronte Country' stopping at Haworth, where you can visit the Parsonage Museum - the former home of the Brontes, the church, where family members are buried, shops frequented by the literary sisters, and a chance to wander the cobbled streets.
The train carries locals as well as tourists, for shopping or work in Keighley, or connections to other destinations.
The web site has lots of useful and interesting information
It was a great experience for us all, the staff were very helpful, and obliging with photo's and taking our group shots etc.
As it's a fully working steam train-expect to get bits of soot etc on you and your clothes if you stick your head out of the train window, or stand near to the engine!
Updated Aug 23, 2010
Phone: 01535 645214 ( 0900-17 30hrs)
After leaving Halifax in a NW direction - heading for ... we didn't know where, as we were on the mystery trip part of our weekend! We stopped after about 5 miles, for a leg stretch/ smoke break /Ooooh, Arrrh at the scenery.
Wharley Moor Reservoir (aka Fly Flatts) is home to the RYA affiliated Halifax Sailing Club, considered to be one of the best places for inland sailing, due to its location, over 1200 metres above sea level, with winds that are ideal for sailing. Link
Further proof of the windy conditions can be seen for many miles around - the swirling blades (56ft) of the 23 100 ft tall turbines of Ovenden Moor wind farm, which help provide electricity for 5,600 homes. They are located on Hollin Hill, above Wainstalls.
The wind farm opened in June 1993, partly funded by a EU grant. As with most wind farms in the UK, they cause controversy.
There is a car park and information display, also the chance to walk within 50 yards of the turbines.
It was quite atmospheric, with the turbines appearing and disappearing through the mist.
Curious to get a better view (and photos) of the wind farm I headed up a path (passing by a discarded WC, assorted bottles and cans, and what might have been a fridge- Grrrrrr!!!)
Over the hill was a water filled disused quarry. I took a picture, but decided not to venture further as the grass and rocks were quite slippery - Our weekend had co-incided with severe weather conditions through many parts of England and Wales. Returning down the hill, I was distracted by a small frog (or was it a toad?) hopping onto some nearby grasses.
Rushes that decorate the cart for Sowerby Bridges annual Rushbearing Festival are gathered from Fly Flatts in mid August each year!
Updated Sep 13, 2008
Saturday, September 6 and Thursday September 11, 2008
The countryside and villages around HEBDEN BRIDGE have turned the area into the undisputed tourism capital of Calderdale. Thousands of visitors from far and wide visit the village each year.
The Village is eight miles (13 km) west of Halifax at the confluence of the River Calder and Hebden Water.
Hebden Bridge and the adjoining village of Mytholmroyd were once busy industrial centres with cotton and woollen mills producing corduroy, moleskin cloth and finished garments. Hebden Bridge factories - water-driven at first - gradually replaced the traditional handloom weaving and spinning carried on at area farms and cottages. There are many reminders of the area's industrial past - ruined mills - lonely chimneys!
Hebden Bridge takes its name from the "Packhorse Bridge" over Hebden Water.
The restored Rochdale Canal attracts boaters, fishermen and walkers.
Hans and I spent our time browsing the many shops that fill the streets of Hebden Bridge and St. George's Square, which is for pedestrians only, made it quite relaxing to walk around this lovely town.
Written Sep 23, 2008
Saturday, September 6 & Sunday September 7, 2008
The RUSHBEARING FESTIVAL is always held on the first weekend in September. Literally thousands will line the streets of Sowerby Bridge to watch sixty men clad in white shirts, black trousers, panama hats and wearing traditional clogs, haul a sixteen foot high, one ton, thatched and decorated Rushcart.
Rushbearing dates back several centuries to the time when church floors consisted of little more than compressed earth. Rushes were used to cover the floor, with new layers being added as they became stale. Once a year, the church cleared out the old rushes and new ones were brought to the Church in carts. This gradually turned into a celebration and holiday involving revelry, music and Morris Dancing.
Written Sep 19, 2008
The Norland Scarecrow Festival/ Trail originated as part of the 2000 Millennium celebrations. Due to its success, it is now an annual event.
Each year a theme is decided. In 2008, it was Books. This year (3rd - 7th Sept 2010) it is TV Programmes. There will also be a small fair, with a barrel organ and a 20ft tall Scarecrow!
Funds raised through sales of the trail brochure (£2), or donations from passengers travelling on the free bus service etc go towards the village community fund. Sales of the trail brochure fund the following years event - So please buy at least one!
Around 80 or more scarecrows are displayed in front gardens of houses, fields, School yards, pubs etc in a 3 mile trail around the village. Each scarecrow is numbered. Some are easily identified, others take a bit more working out - Was it Bagpuss or The Cheshire Cat?- the jury's still out!
Some repetition is seen - a couple of Mr Men, Alice in Wonderland etc, but all executed differently. Some scarecrows are professional works of art, others are more naive - many of the children of the village take pride in creating their scarecrows.
We arrived in our 49 seater coach, in a torrential downpour, but our ever resourceful Ricky had flagged down one of the 'First Calder Line' Mini buses, that were providing a free tour of the trail. Although the driver was due to finish his shift, he came back to give us an entertaining tour of the scarecrows.
At the end we gave donations, which went towards the village fund.
The torrential rain over the 5th - 9th September, meant that the field for free car parking. refreshments, souvenir stands, entertainments etc; was a 'no go' area.
Cream teas and other refreshments are available at various points- please check the website.
Trail Guides cost £2, though I'm afraid that I didn't see one.
Updated Aug 23, 2010
Phone: 01422 839015
We were to enjoy this spectacle on Saturday afternoon at Sowerby Bridge, then on Sunday afternoon in the village of Triangle.
In the olden days-many centuries ago, church floors were covered by rushes, gathered from the local riverbanks. After a year of being trodden on by the worshippers and rotting down, they were thrown out, and replaced by new rushes that were brought to the church by carts.
In the 17th century, a Festival arose from this.The occasion was celebrated with music, dancing and much consumption of ale! Brawls were common between drunken rival supporters and builders of the Rushcarts.
Over the years, the festivities declined, partly due to the lessening need for rush flooring, and so, by the end of the 18th century, building of the rushcarts had ceased. Though there were still commemorative festivals.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Rushcarts were re introduced into the festivities at Sowerby Bridge.
The first weekend in September is the date to put in your diary, to witness this colourful spectacle.
Please check out the website for more info on the history etc.
We arrived, just before the roads were closed to traffic- our coach stopped near to the church of St Patricks, so some of us grabbed a viewing spot here, while others lined the pavements below.
I had a great vantage point, as the internationally renowned band -'The Piece Artistes ' led the procession in front of us. Morris men, sword dancers, Mummers etc passed by, followed by the white shirted teams of men pulling the Rushcart, upon which was perched a local lass astride a saddle, another team of men followed the cart.
While the procession carried on to the canal basin, some of us witnessed a longsword dance in front of the church doors.
I was surprised to find that this team was from Grenoside in my home city of Sheffield. I suppose they are 'rivals' to my local team from Handsworth!
Please nip over to my Sowerby Bridge page for more pics and info.
Updated Feb 18, 2009
Phone: 01422 836316/ 835550
Triangle is a small village, on the A58 Sowerby Bridge-Ripponden Road.
This is where we went to see Sundays Rushbearing. We arrived too late to see the spectacular arrival of the cart down Saw Hill. Instead we went to the car park, opposite the now closed pub where despite the rain, we enjoyed seeing some traditional dances
We also got the chance to chat to the performers, and take plenty of photos, before the cart went on its way to its next destination St. Bartholomew's Church at Ripponden.
Triangle is also the Manor of one Lord Ricky52 and his good wife Lady Sheila!
Ricky took us to a row of terraced cottages, and confessed about his mishap with a barbeque- which had us in stitches! I've since heard other stories from Ricky and Sheila about Ricky and Fire-Not to be trusted.....
In 2010, we witnessed the Rushbearing cart arriving at it's new venue - Triangle Cricket Club, which is the perfect place to witness the arrival of the cart, negotiating the narrow bridge, then circumnavigating the cricket pitch, which must be in one of the most scenic, quintessentially English settings. It's address is quite quaint too - Grassy Bottoms!
2011, and Triangle was the venue for our 1st Ooop North 'Carry On Camping' VT meet, at Rough Hey camp site - Fun in the rain!!
Easter 2012, After a mornings Clay Pigeon shooting (Ricky and Phil shooting, me and Sheila watching), we were invited to watch the Duck Race!
Looking forward to September, and Rushbearing here again!
Updated Apr 25, 2012
Something that we probably take for granted, driving past and over them day in day out. Though at night and in foggy conditions, we take a bit more notice!
As you can see in the photo, Ricky is holding a cats eye - How he obtained it is a bit of a mystery!
These retro reflective safety devices were the inspired invention of one Percy Shaw, born and bred in Halifax. (He spent 84 years living in the same house that he was born in - he died here at Boothtown Mansion aged 86)
"One dark foggy night in 1933 Percy Shaw was driving down the steep winding road from Queensbury to his home in Boothtown. He had made this journey at night many times before, using the reflection of his car headlights on the tramlines to help negotiate the hazardous bends, but the tramlines had been taken up for repair.
Percy later recalled that out of the swirling gloom he noticed two points of light, the headlights had caught the eyes of a cat on a fence. Percy realised the great potential of improving road safety if he could create a reflecting device that could be fitted to road surfaces. After many trials Percy took out patents on his invention in April 1934 and in March 1935 Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd was incorporated, with Percy Shaw as Managing Director".
Updated Aug 23, 2010
The Norland Scarecrow Festival is held in a village a million miles away and dates back centuries. They also have a scarecrow of Pinocchio here somewhere. Norland is a small sparsely populated village near Sowerby Bridge – very small. They are however very enterprising. The local folks set up a Millennium committee in 1999 and came up with this grand idea. The village dates back to the 1200’s and has always been farmland. The use of scarecrows is nothing new. What they capitalised on was their countryside ingenuity, traditional protection of crops and the huge Rushbearing Festival held every year in nearby Sowerby Bridge. Well done folks.
There are probably over 100 scarecrows, incredible artistry and craft and the roads literally are clogged with traffic one time a year. There is a prize for the best scarecrow and some are amazing. Definitely go for a visit!
Updated Sep 19, 2008
Hebden Bridge is known as 'The town for great little shops' or 'One of the Worlds funkiest towns!
So, lots of individual, independent shops, and a pleasant canal, with brightly coloured barges to see. Hebden Bridge has a Picture house and Theatre too.
Market Days 09.00 -16.00hrs -Wednesday (2nd Hand goods) Thursday -Fresh produce and general retail
Telephone 014422 359034
Regular trains and buses leave Halifax for Hebden Bridge - Day Rover tickets available - see my Hebden Bridge transport tips
Hebden Bridge Visitor and Canal Centre (Tourist info)
Telephone 01422 843831
16.03 - 15.10 Mon-Fri 09.30 - 17.30 Sat 10.15 - 17.00 Sunday 10.30-17.00
16.10 -15.03 Mon-Fri 10.00 -17.00 Sat & Sun 10.30 -16.15
Written Aug 29, 2010