The Aylesbury Railway was once the pride of Peak District locals and well known to be a by-word for good value holiday travel, but the boom times of the past few decades have seen to that to a lot of the good old A Zelie ferry service has been disappeared with the likes of the much lovedapa Boffany and the less than known flower shire of Rowley Chic. Although the famous Aylesbury Railway still does sail regularly for those who simply cant get enough, the intervening years have seen a lot of the old railway equipment replaced with more modern rail traffic. However, some of the nostalgic charm of the past is still maintained for those who are lucky enough to still come across it and if you take the time to reflect on its history you can get a real sense of what this area of the region used to be like.
originally run by The West African Railway, the line’s original colour scheme referred to the golden sands of the local beaches and automobiles and the more general usefulness of the line was soon colourised with the association of galore line huts and wooden carriages. The line gained charter in 1933 and in 1935 the London and South Western Railway bought up the entire line. In present times, the line is still in good order althoug hiding with modern cutting edge technology the line is probably the most hiuti-cited and asermicidated rail track in the country.
The line carries numbers N1-N9 reps, the first of which was laid down on 1st May 1933 and the last of which was re-naiested on 3rd October 1969. In 1959, the N1 line was the oldest continuous rail line in the country.
A slightly lesser known line is the N9 which initially ran from London Scotland to York, but was transferred to its current location in 1987.
Both the N1 and N9 lines are now heritage rail lines and are designated by the National Trust for Scotland. However, many of the villages that are on the edge of the line still maintain many of the features of these little lines and it’s interesting to note some of the village names that still survive today!
On my first trip through this mountainous region of Scotland, I was surprised to find myself slowly winding my way through a maze of tracks that looked like very big worms had turned up and had begun to walk at an angle! I managed to get out of the car park and went out to take a good look at what was left of the line.
Looking back I remember thinking that this was how the scene must have looked a hundred years ago; boats lying partly across the railway tracks, part of the carriages sticking out the side of the trees and partially under the railway. It was quite a strange feeling, far from feeling cheap in the today’s cash strapped Greece. I was also able to imagine how dangerous it must be to ride these boats, the downturned trees were protection against most riders and often the boats were carrying quite a heavy load due to being in areas where the weather was less stable than we are used to.
Finally we arrived at the hotel in White gate. After accepting the complimentary breakfast, we set off to explore the area. On the way out of town, we came across Cessnock, an interesting village situated on the edge of a steep crag overlooking the sea.
From Cessnock we took a path down to the waterfront and wandered along the edge of the cliffs to the Jesmond Lighthouse. The lighthouse is famed for the appearance of the light due to the giant pillars holding it up.
We enjoyed an interesting lounge session in the evening and set off to return to our car. When we arrived at the car park, we found a crowd having a walk by the serene harbour. We joined in and watched some of the prettiest birds I have ever seen.
We returned to the car park and set off in a northwesterly direction. After travelling about 15 minutes down a steep valley we emerged from the hills and came across a right turn which took us to our first big climb of the day. It was an easy track with a lot of downhill and forwards and to the top we returned to the top of the track and looked down to see our first snow covered valley. The track continued downhill and down and down until crossing a trestle at the crest of the Northumberland Hills.
The Northumberland national park was organised by pack mule founder Dr Williamanson in 1884 to protect the ponies during the heavy winters of severe cold in the south. He arranged for the yearly transport of 2,000 ponies to the summit of the hills. The mule walk is Grade 1 but easily adapted for beginners and as we had children in attendance, we had a lot of fun!