SMARDALE GILL VIADUCT
Well this is what we set out to do, but perhaps it should have been called ‘In Search of the Scotch Argus’. We parked the car near the Settle to Carlisle line and here there is another viaduct, so I was confused already!
The walk was along the old railway line that took coke from Durham to the furnaces of Barrow in Furness. At the beginning was a notice board that explained why the area was a nature reserve and then said that this was the only one of two sites in England where the Scotch Argus butterfly could be seen. Hmmmmm! How many times have you read these boards and they mention something like a Grass Snake or an Eagle and you never see them? Oh well I got the camera out just on the off chance.
Shortly we came to the place where a train was derailed in 1955 and the wreckage was finally lifted up in 2004. All five men involved survived and one is still alive today. Once we walked on, the track opened out and we were faced with a great number of flowering plants such as Scabious and Knapweed. These provided a feast for the insects that had come out in the sun, although how Richard saw them through his ‘Whirlybirds’ sunglasses I will never know!
The next pictures speak for themselves and it is called INSECTS ARE SPECTACULAR!
Even a frog made an appearance and this blighter could jump nearly a metre! Amphibians are great too!
We then walked over the viaduct (pictures later) and came to the Quarry and the lime kilns. Here were two houses from the era not yet renovated – note the bat ledges on the upper windows.
We carried on a bit and came to the coast to coast path, now we left the line and headed back towards the old viaduct.
As we approached the viaduct
Now we began to see them – the rare Scotch Argus butterflies. We must have seen 25 or more and they seemed to be doing very well, courting and feeding. Here are a few pictures.
Like the 61 buses at college, you could wait for an hour and then three came together LOL.
Back to the car, a long diversion through Hawes and a fish and chip supper at Richmond!
As we walked to the chippy there was a cricket match taking place on the green in Richmond. Oh if every day was like this!