All Line Rover trip Day 5: Ribblehead, Garsdale & Glasgow

In September 2022, I travelled around Britain for a week and a half using an All Line Rover train ticket. This is the sixth of eleven special posts giving a day-by-day narration of my trip. I also wrote an introduction to the trip, discussing my plans and goals, before I left; and will follow up my day-by-day narration with standard posts about the nineteen individual map areas I visited on the trip which are new to the blog. [1]

Interactive map

Here’s an interactive map of my All Line Rover trip! By default, all 11 days of my trip are shown: press the icon in the top left to see the route for individual days of the trip only.

Key to colours: Purple = train, dark blue = metro/underground, pink = tram, green = bus, orange = walking, medium blue = ferry

Day 5: Ribblehead, Garsdale & Glasgow

Following my relatively laid-back day in and around Manchester and my evening with my parents, the next morning I was ready to launch fully back into my trip, and had exciting plans: this day I’d be travelling the length of the Settle-Carlisle line, which is always right up there on lists of the most scenic British railway lines, plus I planned on a couple of stops for exploring or walks. Despite never having ridden the line before, I have written about it on the blog before, in my Kirkby Stephen post, when I at least saw the line – I therefore won’t repeat the little that I wrote about its history and quirks, so have a look there if you want to see that!

My day started with a train from Manchester Victoria out to Leeds, where I got on an 0920 train heading for the Settle-Carlisle.

It’s an hour or so from Leeds before the train reaches Settle and the start of the Settle-Carlisle line proper, but the scenery is nice from very early in the journey, and just gets better and better as the the train works its way past Keighley, Skipton and into the Yorkshire Dales. My train, despite being a bit of a rickety old Northern diesel, was clearly nicely and recently refurbished, and very well loaded with day-trippers: this was one of the only trains of the trip on which I didn’t have a double seat to myself. There was a catering trolley, pushed by a cheerful, chatty attendant, who was impressively knowledgeable about the local area and clearly liked her job, enthusiastically dispensing tourist advice to anyone who wanted it, which was nice to see.

For my first stop of the day, I got off at Ribblehead, a couple of stops after Settle. The stations on the line are all very cute, in the same close architectural style, and Ribblehead was no exception. Like many of the stations, Ribblehead is rather in the middle of nowhere, the route having been chosen for fast end-to-end journey times, serving the settlements on the route as an afterthought with stations often rather distant from them.

Ribblehead station

In Ribblehead’s case, there’s nothing around but hills, the Station Inn pub, and of course the famous Ribblehead Viaduct just slightly down the line, which I, and most everyone else in the area, had come to see! I therefore headed out of the station, dumped my bag in a patch of tall nettles, and walked the ten minutes or so out past the pub to the viaduct.

Ribblehead Viaduct

The viaduct did not disappoint! It’s in a beautiful wide valley, and any photo that gets the whole of it in can’t adequately convey the vertical scale, which is equally impressive when you’re standing under it – the thing’s huge!

A woolly friend who admired the viaduct with me

I had a short wander around near the viaduct, but didn’t stray too far as I wanted to catch the next train on northwards. I’d looked up the train time that morning, and knew it was roughly an hour and a half after I’d arrived – the timetable is a little strange, somewhere between hourly and two-hourly with a lot of odd gaps between trains – but hadn’t thought to note down the time, and since I was without phone signal on my walk, couldn’t look it up, so I headed back to the station early, and had a while to appreciate the information boards dotted around the little café and shop.

A train-window view

My train soon arrived, and after passing the sumit of the line and some more great scenery, I got off a couple of stops further on at Garsdale.

My walk from Garsdale station (map from OS Maps online

I’d planned a walk out from Garsdale, which I started by stashing my main bag in some bushes by the station, before ascending up onto the low moors between Garsdale and the adjacent Grisedale. I was excited that I’d soon be passing by the waterfall Clough Force, which was marked on my map, but it turned out to be a little underwhelming. It’s a low waterfall, formed where a little river runs over some rocks, and from photos on the internet it seems that it is quite pretty from the front – however I was seeing it from above and behind, and couldn’t really tell it was a waterfall at all, rather than just a rocky bit of stream. Oh well!

The rocky bit in the river is Clough Force, seen from behind and above

Still, I was enjoying myself – being out on quiet moors is always great. I descended into Grisedale, which is a small, isolated valley with just a few farmhouses in it, and very pretty! There’s only one road in, and as I walked along a bit of it, a Royal Mail van passed me twice, on its way to the final couple of houses and then on its way back into the wider world.


From there, I took a somewhat higher-level route back over into Garsdale, climbing the hill Turner Hill, atop which I thought I could stop to have my lunch. When I got there, I found it already occupied by a D of E group, but fortunately they were just packing up after their lunch, so I was able to hang around for a minute or so before taking their spot as they left! From there, it was a nice gradual downhill back into Garsdale, and I soon got on a train heading on northwards to Carlisle.

I planned to finish my day in Edinburgh, but rather than heading directly there from Carlisle, I’d be travelling via Glasgow, since I’d planned to meet up there with my friend Climbing Programmer. He actually lives in Edinburgh, but he and his partner were actually heading over to Glasgow that evening to go to some climbing/acrobatics-y centre I can’t quite remember the details of: we therefore planned to meet up for a little while in the early evening before they went off to their activity.

After a 50-minute wait at Carlisle, I got onto an Avanti train up to Glasgow. Surprisingly, given the dire mess Avanti was in at the time, the train was on time and not cancelled, and was pretty empty despite the repeated announcement that “this service is expected to be very busy, customers with flexible tickets may want to take a later train for a more comfortable journey”.

Rather than in central Glasgow, I’d be meeting Climbing Programmer and partner over in Govan – which has featured on this blog before – to the southwest of the city centre, as that’s where they needed to be for their evening’s activities. From Glasgow Central station, I therefore headed over to St Enoch stationto get on the Glasgow Subway, which I’ve never been on before – and thereby picked up another of the UK’s tram and metro systems, which I’d already done a few of on the trip, and was considering trying to bag all of before I got home! The Glasgow Subway – third-oldest underground metro in the world, and never yet extended from its original 1890s single loop line – is delightfully cute, with its tiny little orange trains, substantially shorter from the train floor to roof than I am tall. It looks particularly cute in the stations with tiny narrow island platforms, but unfortunately I didn’t photograph any – see some here.

I got off at Ibrox, apparently the stop for a football stadium, which certainly had a lot of rather grimy-looking pubs around, and soon reached my destination: a Starbucks in a little retail park, where my friends soon arrived, and we headed next door into Greggs for dinner and some chatting!

We had a nice time, after which I left for my final journey of the day, over to Edinburgh. To my mild shame, this was the one time of the trip I used some non-public transport, getting an app taxi over to Glasgow Queen Street station rather than taking the Subway again – I can say in my defence only that I’d had a long day, it was getting rather late and I was keen for bed, and this way I could catch an earlier train. Things were quite tight so I rushed through the newly refurbished Queen Street to get on my train, but all went to plan, and I arrived in Edinburgh, getting off at Haymarket [2] for my nearby hotel at about 9:30pm. Another long day, but a good one!

My rather colourful hotel room for the night!


[1] The individual map area posts will duplicate the contents of the special trip posts, but unlike the latter they won’t form a continuous narrative, since they’ll skip things I did in map areas I’ve already posted about. They will, though, newly contain narration of anything I did on previous visits there – since some of these are areas which are new to the blog, but which I visited before starting my blog in 2017.

[2] Haymarket is just a mile or so before Edinburgh’s main Waverley station when coming from the east, and nearly all trains stop there. I’ve never quite managed to get out of my head the tidbit friend Millicent once told me, that “getting off at Haymarket” is a local turn of phrase for, uh, coitus interruptus – I assure you all I mean is that I exited my train there!

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