A mile a week for Smardale Gill Viaduct
Eden Viaducts launches a new event to raise funds to #SaveSmardaleGillViaduct
Thanks to the support of the public as well as Railway Heritage Trust, Benny Walker Charitable Trust, The Headley Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, in 2023 Eden Viaducts completed the first phase of restoration of Smardale Gill Viaduct. The deck of the viaduct was completely waterproofed and the surface repaired.
The second phase of the restoration is set to start in the summer of 2024. This is the full restoration of the stonework of the viaduct - including the piers that keep it standing. Without this work Smardale Gill Viaduct will continue to disintegrate. Smardale Gill Viaduct still remains at risk.
The viaduct is an iconic piece of Victorian engineering standing 90 ft tall with 14 arches. The viaduct took two years to build by hand with only a team of navvies carrying out its construction- 24 months of hard dedicated work lifting and pointing the stone. The Historic England selection guide for transport structures 2017 stated that 33 viaducts in England were Listed Grade II* and 4 were Listed Grade I. The viaduct therefore belongs among the top 8.3% of Listed Buildings in the country and is one of only 37 viaducts Listed II* or above.
A huge thank you to Alan Hinkes who helped us with our 14 Peaks Challenge that helped us raise funds for the deck repairs. We would be so grateful if everyone would continue to lead the charge towards the viaduct’s full restoration by fundraising whenever they can. As a result, we have launched a new Challenge.
The challenge (should you accept) is to jog/trot/walk/run a mile a week for 24 weeks.
You can become an official fundraiser by clicking on START FUNDRAISING on the Just Giving Campaign page. You can then simply set up your fundraising page and get your friends and family to join in and support you.
Fundraisers will be sent a ‘A Mile a Week for Smardale Gill Viaduct’ t-shirt’
To kick off the challenge Chris Rowley has donated his author’s profits for his wonderful new book ‘The Railway over the Stainmore Pass: Post War Boom and Bust on the North Trans Pennine’ to the campaign. The book can be purchased via the links on www.edenviaducts.org.uk
Chris Rowley said: ‘The book covers everything from how England’s highest main line was built across Westmorland to the critical role it played in supplying the once huge industry of Furness and Cumberland and how that industry went through a post war boom after World War II. It’s full of previously un-published pictures of the line in action high in the North Pennines from the 1930s through to the 1960s. The route is well known to rail enthusiasts across the country and I’m really pleased it’s proving popular and that I can donate my author’s profits to the appeal by the NVT to keep the viaducts open to walkers.’
Neil Cleeveley, Chair of Northern Viaduct Trust said: ‘Another year, another challenge. I’d like to thank everyone who helped us get the Smardale Gill viaduct’s deck repaired and waterproofed. Now it’s watertight we need to restore the stonework that supports the viaduct. So we’re embarking on another huge fundraising challenge. And we're really grateful to Chris Rowley for his generosity in donating the proceeds of his new book to the challenge. It’s a wonderful start to the New Year. Thanks Chris.’
Alan Hinkes said: ‘It was a huge pleasure helping to raise funds for this wonderful historic viaduct. I really enjoyed the 14 Peaks Challenge and look forward to walking across the new viaduct surface but we still have mountains to climb if we are to restore Smardale Gill Viaduct’s stonework and keep the viaduct safe for future generations.’