The Dalesman (Eastern Route) 10 September 2019 – 46115 Scots Guardsman hauling 11+POB Well, the last Dalesman of the season, so over to Skipton one last time. It was a bright, dry autumn morning and no rain was forecast. Our train arrived early headed by 57.001 with 47.746 on the rear. We headed into the loop to wait for the NT Leeds to Carlisle to pass and for the re-timed 6M31 Doncaster-Arcow Quarry to overtake us, rather than wait behind us. We left RT but were held for 1 minute at Gargrave whilst 6M31 cleared the section. We stopped at Hellifield 3¾L and waiting for us in the DGL was Scots Guardsman – what a treat! The diesels were quickly detached and SG and support were attached to the front; this brought the load to 12 and I was seated at the back of the 3rd coach (top light open). In pleasant autumnal sunshine, we were away 2¼E with Mick Kelly driving and Martyn Soames firing. It was a steady start, was SG going to be eased gently back on her first solo run on the S&C for a little over 2 years? No! Power was progressively applied and we passed Long Preston at 35.8, then more power and more noise from the front and we flashed past Settle Jn SB at 60.5 (1E) and shortly afterwards reached a max of 61.3. We crossed the A65 and into the cutting; the noise from the front increased. With plenty of blasts from the hooter we powered through Settle station at 50.5 (1½E); a southbound unit was stopped in the station spoiling the view of some spectators. Into Stainforth Tunnel at 39.4 and just beyond Stainforth a min of 38.8, we were going very well and were up to 41 at Helwith Bridge (2¼E). As we passed the branch to Arcow Quarry, where 66.715 was waiting with 6M31, we reached a max of 47.2. Then on past Crag Hill Farm and round the curve and into the cutting where the sound of the exhaust notched up a level; not the roar of a Jubilee but a raucous, ferocious snarl – SG meant business. Through Horton in R (45.2 & 1½E), falling back to 44.3, then on the short easing (1/200r) back up to 46.2. SG was giving it plenty, on past the rows of cottages before Selside at 45.2, past the hamlet at 44.2. SG growled and snarled as speed settled at 43.5 where we ran parallel to the road at Selside Shaw, then under the road and, 30 seconds later, very suddenly the noise stopped, what was wrong? What was wrong was that we were now much less than a mile from Ribblehead and still travelling at 43 mph; gradually our progress slowed. We were 2E at Ribblehead, we crossed the viaduct and passed Blea Moor SB 3½E. SG was not finished yet, Mick opened the regulator again and we plunged into Blea Moor Tunnel at 37. A wonderful, ferociously noisy climb with 12 (well filled) coaches; Settle Jn SB to Blea Moor SB had taken 19m 15s and Settle Jn SB to Blea Moor Tunnel S 20m 39s. Whew! Out of the tunnel and slow for the 20mph TSR beyond Dent Head. I fear that the TSR could be in place for some time. It is not in a critical location for the climbs but could hinder time recovery on a day when that is appropriate; today was not such a day. Through Garsdale (58.5 & 2½E) and a sprint up to Ais Gill summit (60 & 2½E). The fun did not stop there as we dashed down the hill gaining time as we went; Mallerstang (61.5 & 3E), Kirkby Stephen (60.6 & 3½E), Crosby Garrett (61.5 & 3½E) and by Ormside we were 7E. We stopped in Appleby 6½E. Time for an ice cream (Blackcurrant), a chat with the crew who confirmed that SG was steaming and running well and a brief chat with @Mick45305 (who had been on the “Sugar Loaf” – I think that he does more trips than me! He’s way behind on ice creams). We left 1¼E and had another quick run down the hill, with power (and that lovely noise) coming on for the brief uphill sections. We ran early all the way to Carlisle stopping in platform 3, 5E. I watched SG head north with the ECS but left the station before the train was reversed into A road. As it was a dry day I decided to give The Woodrow a miss and headed for the centre, I had intended to have a Ploughman’s Lunch; pork pie, scotch egg, ham, cheese, pickle, crusty bread (but the Ploughman had beaten me to it; the cafe had sold out!? I settled for a pizza). Bit of a mooch round and then back to the station where SG was already attached to the south end of the stock but was obscured by a Pendolino parked in platform 1. The departure board for WCML services was littered with “delayed” – I hoped that it wouldn’t impact on our departure. Soon our train headed south along the Maryport line before reversing into platform 3. I took my seat in what was now the 11th coach; ever the optimist I opened the top light. We left a few seconds early, Steve Chipperfield was driving and Rob Russell firing. The southbound climb to Ais Gill is one of almost 1100 ft in 48 miles; northbound the climb from Settle Jn to Blea Moor is around 670ft in 14 miles; SG had passed the sprint challenge, how would she fare in the marathon? We picked our way south and past Petteril Br Jn and shortly afterwards reached the foot of the first 3 miles of 1/132r at 24. A further ¾mile and under the M6 at 30.7 and up to 35 at Cumwhinton holding this speed to the summit. The following ¾mile of level track allowed us to accelerate before we started another 3 miles of 1/132r and just as we began to climb we passed Howe & Co SB (44.3 & RT). Speed dropped to 42 but we reached the summit at 43. Now over the top we passed Low House Xng at 53 (RT) as we dropped down to Drybeck Viaduct (60.5) then climbed back up to Armathwaite (57 & ½E). We dropped down again to Armathwaite Viaduct (63) and into the first of 3 tunnels, Armathwaite at 59.1, and 1.3 miles of 1/220r later, out of the last, Baron Wood No1 at 54 and down to 52.6 at the summit beyond. We reached 61 in the dip before Lazonby and through the station at 58.1 (1¾E), down again and across Long Meg Viaduct at 61.5 before hammering up the 1/264/132r and past Little Salkeld at 57.7. We completed the climb with 51.6 through Langwathby (2¼E). On we went through Waste Bank and Culgaith Tunnels with 56 at Culgaith Xng (4½E). We remained 4½E as we passed Kirkby Thore SB at 54, 55.5 at Long Marton (5¼E) before stopping in a sunny Appleby 5¾E. The run from Carlisle had taken 42m 31s – so far, so (very) good. The 11th coach was 2 coach lengths short of the platform so I decided to stay put. After being stopped for 11 minutes the train drew forward 10-15 yards (to take water? – a guess!). 10 minutes later, with the sun now obscured by thin high cloud, and ½L we were off on the final, gruelling part of the climb. Under 2 miles to garner some speed with which to attack the 1/100r; we crossed Ormside Viaduct at 53.6 and reached 54.1 just beyond, this had fallen to 52.6 at Ormside (RT). 1¾ miles into the climb and we entered Helm Tunnel at 45.6 and back out at 44.0 and a min of 40.4 as we approached Griseburn where the gradient eases to 1/166r. We crossed Griseburn Viaduct at 40.8 and up to 47.4 passing Crosby Garrett (½E). We reached a fleeting maximum of 55 just south of Crosby Garrett Tunnel. Across Smardale Viaduct (53.0) and the start of almost 5 miles of 1/100r, down to 43.6 past Kirkby Stephen SB (½E) and then the welcome 0.2 miles of 1/264r, where speed improved to 45.1, before we were back on the 1/100r. Approaching Birkett Tunnel and I spotted the Kendal Cattle Rustlers (cunningly disguised as videographers), into the Tunnel at 39.6 and out at 38.7 dropping only slightly to 38.5 before the gradient eases. Just under a mile of 1/330r and speed rose to 42.8 at Mallerstang (1E) and up to a max of 45.1 just north of Sycamore Tree Farm. This was now a battle to the summit and with the occasional snarl drifting back from the front it was a hard fought battle; my money was on this beast of a locomotive. We passed Angerholme at 40.7 and still over 40 as the road ran alongside to our left, but down to 39.7 as we ducked under the road, with a min of 39.3 around MP260. 11 coaches back I passed Ais Gill Summit Board at 42.6. The climb had taken 24m 39s from passing MP277.25 on Appleby platform (at 11.8mph) and 25m 42s from the start at Appleby. I was exhausted and had done nothing; I imagine Rob Russell was ready for a sit down and a well earned drink. We were ¾L through Garsdale (53) and with the TSR at Dent Head (plenty of noise as we accelerated away) were 3L at Blea Moor. A reasonably quick run down the hill saw us pass Settle Jn SB (62.0 & ¼L) and Long Preston (44.0 & ½E) but the habitually slow approach to Hellifield saw us stop in the UGL 1½L. After the usual shunting movements, and with SG and her support still in the DGL, we were off (RT) to Skipton. We arrived RT and with a clear run I arrived home at 20.29 (1E); Mrs W was finishing a jigsaw and into her second glass of Pinot Grigio (from that bottle). A memorable day with Geoff Boycott being knighted and a couple of absolutely top drawer runs from a loco fresh from the box. Well done to everyone on the day and to everyone at 10A for a splendid overhaul and my thanks to David Smith for letting me travel behind his magnificent locomotive. SG has been sorely missed and I look forward to many more trips behind her. Thanks for your photos and videos; you only see the inside of the coach when travelling on these trips – but you do get to hear the exhaust up close.