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La’al Ratty Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

July 27, 2010

Although we often stop for a cup of tea at the new Visitor Centre at Dalegarth, it was a long time since I had actually travelled on La’ll Ratty, so off we went.

Getting up steam.

The seven mile track winds through the countryside from Dalegarth to Ravenglass, and was origionally opened to move iron ore from workings near Boot to the coast. Four steam engines operate on the track, River Esk, River Irt, River Mite and Northern Rock.

The station at Eskdale.

The scenery takes in views of Scafell and you can spot lots of wildlife on the way. As you cross Barrow Marsh keep an eye open for Oyster Catchers and Ringed Plovers. On to Matterdale, you may well spot red squirrels.

River Esk train.

You can sit in open carriages, semi covered, or completely covered. It can be quite chilly sitting outside even on a summers day and although we set off in sunshine it started pouring and all the folk outside got soaked!.

Setting off from Dalegarth.

Several of the stops are by request.  Muncaster Mill and Fisherground (used by people staying at the nearby campsite).

La'al Ratty

From the various stations there are some great walks. Wainwright even wrote a book of walks specially “Walks from Ratty” which you can buy at either end of the line. There is also another book called “Steam and Ramble” which has local walks.

Eskdale Mill.

Some favourite walks are to Eskdale Mill (good ice cream stop), Stanley Ghyll Force, Eel Tarn and Harter Fell.

When I grow up I want to be a train driver !.

When you are at Ravenglass be sure to have a look at the Railway museum at the station. A great family day out, especially if you get someone to drive to the other end to pick you up, make sure you look out for them waving from a bridge over the track. Oh and one last thing “la’al means little in the local dialect.

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