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Today is   Last update 07-11-2011
 
















UP, UP, AND AWAY!

Sometimes the recorder of a Society excursion presented a very telling account of being an early tourist. Today as we sweep along on the dual carriageway over Stainmore from Brough to Bowes, we little think of what travellers using the early road must have experienced; but the members of CWAAS braved weather and wild country to drive in open carriages on their 1880 excursion to that very area. The account is so effective that it needs no re-telling and is here quoted directly.

AUGUST18TH AND19th, 1880.

The second excursion for this season was held on Wednesday and Thursday, August 18th and 19th, at Kirkby Stephen. On Wednesday, at mid-day, about forty members and friends of the Society assembled at the King's Arms Hotel, Kirkby Stephen, which was made the rendezvous of the meeting. The weather was dull, hazy, and almost threatening, but it kept perfectly fair throughout the whole of the day.

King
King's Arms Hotel, Kirkby Stephen


After luncheon, the party set out from Kirkby Stephen, taking the road for Brough-on-Stainmore. That picturesque and extensive, but now greatly decayed, market town was simply driven through on the outward journey, the visit to its fine, old, and grandly situated castle being reserved for the return.

'The splendour falls on.....' Brough Castle viewed in rich evening sunshine


Passing over Brough Hill —the scene of the great annual fair known by that name — the party journeyed up-hill and down-dale to Stainmore, nearly all the higher parts of the road yielding magnificent and far-spreading views, which would have been even finer and more extensive had the day not been so hazy. On the other side of the valley were to be seen North-Eastern Railway trains slowly and apparently with difficulty, dragging their length up the highest railway in England, and at this point crossing what may be called the backbone of England on their way from the western to the eastern seaboard, and vice-versa. The presence of the steam locomotive seemed incon¬gruous in such a far-spreading wilderness of moor and fell.

A train making its way over Stainmore. Photo courtesy Gavin Morrison
A train making its way over Stainmore. Photo courtesy Gavin Morrison


Higher and higher wound the road until the little church and hamlet of Stainmore were passed, and even the few human habitations that had been visible, since leaving Brough, disappeared and the moor was supreme in its solitude. The party did not slacken rein except now and then to breath their horses, or to relieve the toilsome ascent of the perpetually recurring hills, until the eastern borders of Westmor¬land were reached, on the great plateau that tops the moor.

View over the Stainmore moors in the early days of the motor car. Photo courtesy of Mark Keefe Collection
View over the Stainmore moors in the early days of the motor car. Photo courtesy of Mark Keefe Collection


Without doubt the travellers would be pleased to see even 'that decayed market town', Brough; and when they returned to the main street of Kirkby Stephen, and to their base at the King's Arms Hotel, they would have a fine day out to mull over.

Market Cloister in Kirkby Stephen
Market Cloister in Kirkby Stephen's main street








































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