Going for a yarn

Today’s picture, sent to me by Bruce, shows a good use for old tractors on the beach at Cromer in Norfolk.


It was the day of the Langholm Show today and in normal circumstances, we would have been there but our daughter Annie had bought tickets for us to visit a yarn exhibition in Skipton in Yorkshire and that took priority.  Other than the pleasure of meeting our daughter and going to a yarn exhibition, a major attraction of the outing was a trip on the Carlisle to Settle railway line, one of the most scenic in Britain.

We left for Carlisle straight after breakfast with high hopes of good weather and a fine day out.

The train to Skipton only consisted of two coaches and was pretty full by the time we left Carlisle.  As each station when we stopped added more to the load and as we stopped at many stations, it was bursting at the seams by the time we got to the highest point of the trip at 1100ft.  We felt happier once it was coasting down the hill into Yorkshire.

The stations on the line have been well looked after since a determined effort by rail users prevented the authorities from closing the line in the late 1980s.

It starts its run from Carlisle along the Eden valley and today there could have been no place more aptly named as the views from the train were wonderful.  Sadly, taking pictures from an aisle seat through the slightly grubby windows of a crowded train is not on so you will have to take my word for that.

I did take a picture while we were stopped at a station.

Carlisle to Settle Line
A small station building.

Our daughter was coming up from London and more by luck than good management her train and ours arrived at Skipton within minutes of each other.  We found that there was a old Routemaster London bus acting as a shuttle from the station to the exhibition, which was being held in the local auction mart.  The bus had been tastefully decorated to show its destination.

skipton bus

After a short journey, we were decanted at the mart and entered without really knowing what to expect.  The exhibition had been organised by a group of local craft enthusiasts but it had got stalls from all over Britain and judging from the crowds inside, visitors from all over Britain too.

It was jam packed.


There were hundreds of stalls and thousands of visitors and Mrs Tootlepedal and Annie had a great time going round.  There were two very fine displays of knitted food….


…which were much easier to get at than the actual food stalls which had huge queues.  I stood in one of the queues for some time while the ladies continued their research, making judicious purchases from time to time.  They joined me as I got to the counter and we had a burger for our lunch.

The organisers had sent out a call to craft workers everywhere to provide crochet bunting and their call had been answered in spades.


As well as purveyors of all sorts of wool, the show had two stalls for providers of quality yarn.


There was wool from everywhere….


…and people knitting in the auction ring of the mart.


Altogether it was an amazing, if rather claustrophobic experience.  My favourite stall wasn’t really  yarn based as such but a lovely display of machine embroidered pictures.  Here they are with their proud maker posing in front of them.


She is called Christine-Ann Lambert and has no website that I can find but if you get a chance to see her work, take it.

As Mrs Tootlepedal remarked, the exhibition was full of really enthusiastic stallholders, all very helpful and all very charming and polite and as many of the most popular yarns and fabrics in the stalls  were made from angora, alpaca and cashmere, it could well be described as the ultimate in soft selling.

We spent a couple of hours threading through the crowds and then sought fresh air and a walk back to the town.  This was a walk of about a mile and the route was marked out for us at every point by more crochet bunting, knitted lamposts….


…and even knitted bollards with additional crochet canaries.

You can see that the crochet canaries had attracted a wild life photographer.

The path led us through a delightful public park….


…down to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal beside the station.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

We had a bit of time to spare before our train back to Langholm so we walked along the canal to the town centre…

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

…where we had a nice cup of tea.   We walked back along the canal, passing a manifestation of the ongoing Skipton puppet festival…

There’s never a dull moment in Skipton

…and caught the train back to Carlisle in the nick of time.

This had more coaches than the outward journey and I was able to sit next to a window and take a picture or two as we pottered slowly home through the dales.

All the stations on the line were built by the Midland Railway Company in the same style, known affectionately as Derby Gothic.  They are well maintained.



The picture above, taken from Horton-in-Ribblesdale station, shows Pen-y-ghent, one of the hills in the Three Peaks Hill race which I ran three  times when I was in my prime.  It is twenty three miles long and goes over the tops of three 2000 ft peaks. The winner in one of the years in which I competed took two and a half hours to finish the course.  I took quite a bit longer. Happy memories.

The journey from Skipton to Carlisle is not much over 80 miles but takes two hours so the passenger has plenty of time to stare out of the window and very little time to be bored as the scenery is wonderful on a sunny day like today.


This is the view from Ribblehead viaduct.  This is a popular spot for walkers as you can see from the many parked cars.

One of the many farms en route.

We arrived back in good time to have a fine meal at the Douglas to round off a grand day out.  A text from Sandy told us that Mrs Tootlepedal’s embroidery had not only won first prize in its class but also a cup for the best item of handwork in the show.  Well deserved in my view.  Sandy had won a first and second prize but I had to be content with a single third prize.  I shall have to try harder next time.

I just had time to catch a chaffinch after we got home and before we went for our meal.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Going for a yarn

  1. What a day out! Glad the train home was less crowded and that the day was so fine. Thanks for the views en route. Well done Mrs T. though I am not surprised.

  2. That sounds like a splendid day out – great pictures, including from the train. Many congratulations to Mrs. T for winning a loverly silver cup, and to you and Sandy for photographic prizes.

  3. It’s many years since I’ve been on the Carlisle Settle line. Seeing your pics I feel the need to return.

  4. I was at Skipton many years ago….January of 1989 or 90. I loved that whole area. Thanks for the train stations, enjoyed seeing them very much.
    Mrs T. deserved her win!

  5. What an excellent outing. A well run event is always a treat and the views on the return train trip are great. There is very little train travel in my part of the world, so I’m a little envious. Someday I may pay the pricey fare and take the train through the Rocky Mountains.

  6. I love that people have banded together as “Friends” of the various train lines over there to keep these stations looking used and loved 😀 I did enjoy the knitted/crocheted canaries but I thought they looked more like ducks 🙂 Well done to the both of you on your prizes in the show.

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