A more relaxing day today as we let the train take the strain. We drove over to Oxenhope to visit the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The train runs through Haworth and Oakworth which is most famous for its role in the 1970 film version of Edith Nesbit's story The Railway Children. We went down to Keighley where the train turned round for it’s return to Oxenhope. The steep gradient up the Worth Valley from the Keighley terminus has been a challenge for locomotives ever since the line opened on 15th April 1867. We alighted at Haworth and went to visit the village. As the railways name implies it runs through the valley of the River Worth and the village of Haworth spreads up the valley on both sides. The walk up to the commercial side of the village is very steep and was a real challenge to my knee – but it held up really well. The shops all seem to be either gift shops or tea rooms with the odd specialist shop thrown in but no food shops at all – I guess there must be some somewhere! We didn’t visit the Bronte Parsonage as time didn’t allow it but we did choose a team room and have a cuppa :-) We returned to the station and caught the next train to Oxenhope.
We drove to Keighley where Asda and Halfords were on our list of “must visit” places and then back to Mary H.
In the evening we watched Never Say Never Again which I had borrowed from the marina’s library. The film was made in 1983 and it was really quite amusing to see how the Bond Films have changed in 29 years – some of things Bond (Sean Connery) said would, I’m sure, have made Daniel Craig roll on the floor laughing!
Sunday 12th August
We were Wombles today - not collecting rubbish but we were “underground, overground” and definitely “free”!
Our first port of call was Stump Cross Caverns – I think I had been there as a child but am not convinced! The caves were quite low in places – just as well we had hard hats on. There were some amazing stalagmites and stalactites (and yes I do know which is which!) though I have to admit that I have seen better. The caves were discovered in 1860 by miners who were looking for lead seams in the Yorkshire Dales. Although they didn't find any lead, they did find the natural caverns. Miners often didn't see any commercial value in the caves, however a man named William Newbould had vision enough to see that they could be a profitable enterprise, and opened the caves to the public at a cost of 1 shilling per visit (£7 today!) In 1963 an experienced caver, Geoff Workman, set the world record for the longest time spent underground at Stump Cross. Geoff spent 105 days underground in solitude as part of an investigation into the effect on the body of depravation of the day and night cycle – mad man!!
From Stump Cross we headed east to Brimham Rocks. This was Richard’s choice of venue and I wasn’t too sure about looking at a load of old rocks! HOWEVER I was totally amazed by what I saw. Some of the rocks are balanced but most of them are just shaped into “burgers”! I found it hard to comprehend that these rocks had been standing there for thousands of years. There were lots of families out for a Sunday afternoon outing though for one family it ended with a trip to hospital – it just goes to show that climbing over the rocks isn’t really
a good thing and I wonder how much longer they will allow it. The unusual shaping of the
rocks happened during the last Ice Age. Some 18,000 years ago, an ice cap covered the northern Pennines. At times, part of the rock bed stood out above the ice, exposed to fierce winds blowing off the ice cap and carrying tiny particles of ice, sand and other debris. The rocks were sandblasted into new shapes, particularly at ground level where the winds were strongest.
From Brinham Rocks we returned to Mary H to watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics – I shall miss the games but have to admit that I am looking forward to some different TV.