The Bogtrotter

Archive for October, 2009

Steaming through the Gardon valley by train

by on Oct.17, 2009, under France, French Experiences

Preserved railway lines are something I always think of as typically English. Who else would spend so much time and effort lovingly restoring an outmoded, dirty, slow form of transport?

So imagine my pleasant surprise at finding a steam train line running throuth the heart of the Cevennes mountains. The Train a Vapeur des Cevennes runs from Anduze to St Jean Du Gard is 13 km, taking a route first opened in 1909 by SNCF after 12 years of planning and construction.

Steaming along in the Cevennes

Steaming along in the Cevennes

The line was closed in 1971, but taken over by volunteers in the mid-1980s and re-opened as a tourist line.

Many of the services are steam-operated but some (particularly the later or off-peak services) are diesel-powered, so check before you arrive if steam is your thing. Several of the carriages are open-sided, giving you the best views over the amazing landscape. But be warned – it can get dirty as the steam and smoke from the engine get funnelled down the train as you go through the tunnels and under the bridges.
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Amble through the Lakes – walk from Grasmere to Ambleside

by on Oct.04, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

When you think of walking in the Lake District you immediately think of heading for the fells and mountain-tops, but there are also plenty of low level walks that provide equally enjoyable walking. This is an gentle but varied five mile walk between two of Lakeland’s most visited sites – Grasmere village and Ambleside. The walk is fairly easy going, with little ascent and just one tricky section.

Starting from Grasmere Church (resting place of poet William Wordsworth) take the small road opposite, past the car park and garden centre. You follow this road past a hotel and out of the village, getting your first views of Grasmere lake on your left. You then approach close to the lake, passing a small boathouse and cafe. The road then climbs up and slightly away from the lake, giving fine views across to Grasmere with the village lying underneath the bulk of Great Rigg.
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