NK writes:

In 2009, The Fellsman series of excursions, which ran on most Wednesdays during July, August and September between Lancaster and Carlisle via Preston, Blackburn, the Ribble Valley, and the S&C, were most successful, and generated great interest amongst RVR members especially as the trains were booked to call at Clitheroe.

Peter Bleasdale and Simon Clarke were quick off the mark to send me some photos, which were placed at the top of Gallery 7, and those from Ted Buckley I now include below as a featured article, complete with narrative and photos.

Details of Fellsman Excursions Summer 2010 may be obtained by clicking here


22 April 2010




By Ted Buckley

Updated: 07/01/2015



xxxTed Buckley writes:

In normal circumstances, I would have been unable to witness this series of excursions, but a recent redundancy at least had a silver lining, in that I was able to get out and about with my camera on no less than six of the eight occasions The Fellsman ran.

I concentrated my efforts on the Ribble Valley Line, both sides of Clitheroe, and also around Long Preston, as the morning train stopped for a half hour or so at Hellifield to take water, and for two minutes at Long Preston to pick up passengers.




The Fellsman soon gained a reputation for reliable running, and the evening train was often quite early when seen south of Clitheroe.

Overall, the weather was not kind, with a frustrating number of sightings being in dull weather! Just occasionally, however, the sun did manage to shine.

I present here a selection of the photographs from each of those six weeks.




Wednesday 5th August

This was the second week of the service, and the only time I witnessed a loco other than Leander.


On this day, the service was hauled by Royal Scot class, 46115 Scots Guardsman,

which is seen on the outward journey traversing Bridge 86

on the climb from Rimington towards Gisburn.


The return trip was captured from the foot crossing around a half mile south of Langho Station.


This was taken with a fairly long lens,

as the low evening sun had cast a shadow over the tracks

adjacent to the crossing.













This was a twenty minute walk from the former Black Bull Inn at Rimington,

and I was unfortunately rather thwarted by the amount of trackside grass,

as the correct side of the fence was rather low down on the embankment.


Pendle Hill looms in the background, and ten minutes before the loco arrived,

the clouds appeared from over the hill to cover the erstwhile blue sky!


The train was running early, as it passed me at 19:15,

just five minutes after the Clitheroe departure time.


It will be seen that despite climbing all the way from Whalley Arches,

the safety valves are still lifting.










Wednesday 12th August

This was another day when the sun refused to shine at the appropriate moments!

This was the third week of The Fellsman,

and the first time I had seen Jubilee Class 45690, Leander,

in action over the Ribble Valley Line for many a year.

Leander is seen climbing steadily towards Newsholme on a very windy morning,

with Pendle Hill prominent in the background.


The combination of the strong wind, and the fact that Leander

was taking the climb at a very easy pace

left the sound recordist. standing next to me, very frustrated indeed!













Leander is seen pulling away from Long Preston.


Unfortunately, a northbound coal train had been allowed to pass through Hellifield,

immediately in front of Leander,

causing an 8-minute late departure from Long Preston.












On the return leg, Leander was photographed at the same location

as Scots Guardsman the previous week,

viz. the foot-crossing to the south of Langho Station,

whose platform lights can be seen to the rear of the train.


Again, the train passed by, and just five minutes after she was due out of Clitheroe.







Wednesday 19th August

My chosen location this week

was just north of Stock Beck Viaduct, Gisburn,

which was reached via a public footpath,


but I had to run the gauntlet

of a rather aggressive herd of cows!



This was another occasion when the sun disappeared

just 10 minutes before the train came.


I had walked to the location in full sun,

and I walked back to the car in full sun.


The next sequence of three photos

simply emphasises the idyllic rural Ribble Valley countryside.


As the afternoon had been generally dull,

I had decided to go for a silhouette shot

close to the Langho footcrossing.


This time, as the train could be heard pounding up the bank,

the sun decided to show itself,

thereby thwarting my attempt at a decent silhoutees.


Still, I am pleased with the effective lighting on the first photo,


and as regards the second, into the sun,

I guess you'll love it or hate it! I love it!

















Wednesday 26th August

The weather was foul !


It was a very dull morning with intermittent showers,

and I contented myself with a local visit,

capturing Leander as she climbed past Two Gates

on the way to the summit just before Wilpshire.


The side-on view is somehow timeless,

with the only hint of modernity being the u-pvc windows

in the terraced houses.


























The day continued foul, and Leander has just breasted the summit

at Wilpshire in the rain, with the last coaches coming over the hump

and Ramsgreave & Wilpshire station in the background.


The driver has just closed the regulator

for the steep descent to Blackburn,

and black smoke was beginning to pour from the chimney.


The Fellsman passed me at 19:18, a mere 8 minutes

after the scheduled Clitheroe departure time.

Early again!













Wednesday 2nd September

Yet another dull day!

Despite the weather, I think this morning train provided me with my most satisfying shots of the series.


The first two photos were taken from a location on the climb past Rimington towards Gisburn

Leander is working flat out over the foot crossing and through the reverse curves

on the climb up towards Gisburn,

and passed this spot just 8 minutes after the Clitheroe departure time.
























The third photo of the sequence,

admittedly a very unusual angle,

shows the severity of the climb,

as the train squeezes through a nearby bridge.







Wednesday 2nd September continued:


Following these very satisfying shots, I caught Leander again as she left Hellifield.

As the smoke shows, the wind had picked up strongly in the last hour,

and it had gone cold as well as dull.


The weather stayed poor all day, and I didn't bother venturing out in the evening

for the return journey, as it was practically dark

by the time the train was due through Langho!














Wednesday 9th September

At last, a glorious day!

For the morning shot, I had chosen a location north of Chatburn,

but to my annoyance, after a long walk from the car,

I found that the immediate foreground was covered in shadow

from some tall trees adjacent to the track.

I had to be content with a longer-range shot from the occupation bridge

over which the public footpath passed,

and Leander is seen digging in to the climb up through Rimington,


having just crossed over the A59 Chatburn bypass

- the light-painted cast iron bypass bridge can be seen,

as can part of the Castle Cement works in the background.


For once, the hill in the background is not Pendle Hill, but Kemple End.













Leander is next seen slowing for the Long Preston stop.

The station was well patronised with passengers,

as there were quite a few more underneath the station bridge.


Naturally, the sun obliged by shining straight into the camera!


The fireman has built up a full head of steam,

ready for the long climb over the Settle & Carlisle ahead.















On the return journey I nearly missed her! She was due off Clitheroe at 19:10,

and should have passed me at around 19:30.

She passed me at 18:54, just after I had arrived!


The location is a footpath behind the former Langho Colony.

The nights are drawing in now, and the shadows are getting longer,

as Leander storms up the bank and is swallowed up by the woods.

The Fellsman did not run on September 16th,

and I was unable to photograph her on 23rd, the final outing,

so the sunny evening on 9th September was a fitting finale for me.


The exhilarating sound of Leander pounding up Langho bank in full chat

will stay with me for a long time.
































Click on above panel for details of other excursions



Further photographs of The Fellsman 2009,


which were taken by Peter Bleasdale and Simon Clarke,


may be viewed by visiting


Gallery 7