Loughborough and Lincoln
The last time we passed this way, we weren’t impressed with Loughborough at all so we weren’t that bothered about staying overnight. The trip from Kegworth had been a straightforward one and we arrived on the visitor moorings around eleven o’clock and found a space easily enough. We took the short walk into town and could see that a lot had changed in the last eight years, the market was on, the sun was shining and the whole place had a vibrant feel about it. We walked around and completely changed the opinion that we had held since 2010 and so decided to stay for a few days. A little bit of digging found that the local heritage railway, The GCR was having a special event over the weekend to mark fifty years since the official end of steam train running in this country. It looked like it would be worth hanging around for on the Saturday, just leaving us with Friday to amuse ourselves.
The title of this post isn’t a mistake, we went to Lincoln on the train on Friday. Very often when we are staying in a place where there is a railway station, we look to see where trains run to from it. It doesn’t always yield interesting results but when we found out that there is a direct service to Lincoln, we made the decision to go. The decision was made at half past eight on Friday morning while we were still in bed but by quarter to ten, we were standing on the platform of Loughborough station, a mile away, ready to board the train.
The trip lasted an hour and a half and stopped at half a dozen stations along the way but the train wasn’t busy and it was modern, quiet and clean so the time passed quickly. Of course we wanted to visit the Cathedral having already been to a number of others on this trip and since there is a castle nearby, it made sense to visit that too. In my mind, I associate the name ‘Lincolnshire’ with flat landscapes and big skies but I must admit that I have only been to places like Spalding and Boston. I had no idea that the castle and Cathedral stand at the top of a steep hill in Lincoln!
Anyway, we climbed up the hill and then climbed up on the castle walls and then to the top of the tower – real gluttons for punishment! Lincoln Crown Court still sits in the building inside the castle walls but they don’t use the Victorian prison any more. The castle experience also includes the exhibition of one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, quite appropriate for us after our trip to Runnymede last year.
By the time we had trudged back down the hill, an activity which was possibly harder than the climb up, we were glad to get back to the station. Our efforts were rewarded as we found ourselves in what should have been the first class section of the train but East Midland trains have declassified it to standard class. It still had the bigger reclining seats though, so we travelled in relative luxury back to Loughborough.
Later on Friday evening, when checking the GCR website, we saw that because of the recent hot dry spell and the risk of lineside fires, the number of steam trains on duty over the weekend was going to be severely restricted and heritage diesels would be substituted. There didn’t seem much point in going, after all if we want to travel on a smelly, noisy old diesel train we can just get a Northern train from Leeds to Sheffield but for a fraction of the price.
Saturday was another warm day and with the plan to visit the Great Central thrown out, we did a bit of grocery shopping and then reviewed our plans for the rest of the summer – more of which in the next post.