Kirkandrews-on-Esk 2014

Between Gretna and Longtown, over in England, is the old parish of Kirkandrews-on-Esk, the location of an old church and tower house next to the river Esk…

Kirkandrews-on-esk:

Status: City of Carlisle District, Cumbria, Village, England

Date: 10/05/2014

Travel: Car

Eating & Sleeping: N/A

Attractions: St Andrew’s Church, River Esk, Waverley Line etc

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We pulled up outside the old Church, and you can immediately tell how old the building is. It was built back in 1776, using red sandstone to construct the strange rectangular shape. In the main tower is a small clock, capped off with a small dome atop a series of columns.

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St Andrews Church is quite large, but only open on Sunday’s so we couldn’t go inside to explore. The Graveyard has graves centuries old, and around the outside of the building are a number of stained glass windows. Four of these are in the nave, built in a style from the 15th century called Rhenish.

It’s a very pleasant area, and very quiet aside from the water flowing through the nearby river, which gives it a very natural feel.

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Across from the Church is the 16th Century Kirk Andrews Peel Tower. There were many Peel Towers in the area, and they were built along the Anglo-Scottish Border as defensive towers. Other Peel Towers including Smailholm Tower in the Scottish Borders, and Preston Tower in the English county of Northumberland.

There were lots of new born lambs out in the field in front of the tower (which has now been converted into a modern living space inside), captivating Gemma’s attention!

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The river Esk is clearly visible flowing past the end of the Churchyard, and in front of it sits a small Memorial, erected in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in 1952. A shield on the front of it bears the three English Lions.

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On the way out of the parish, we noticed this old train station, which has now been converted into a house. The remains of the platform is visible at the back of the structure. We knew immediately which line this station was once on, the Waverley Line between Carlisle and Edinburgh via the Scottish Borders region.

The Waverley Line opened in stages, with the first, to the town of Hawick being completed in 1849. The second stage took the line to Carlisle in 1862. It was built by the North British Railway Company, and was named after the novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832, Scottish Novelist and Poet). The Beeching Ace in the 1960’s saw the closure of various lines in the UK seen as unprofitable, and the Waverley Line was one of them. The last passenger train ran on 1969, closing the more direct route to Edinburgh from Carlisle. Now trains have to run from Carlisle up to Carstairs near Glasgow and go across to Edinburgh.

The line has had a reprieve recently however, as the Scottish Government announced in 2006 that the line would be rebuilt between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, just south of the town of Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. It is possible it may be extended to Carlisle one day in the future. The station in Kirk Andrews was called Scotch Dyke, and was one of the last before Carlisle. It closed much earlier than the Waverley Line itself however, in 1949. All traffic ceased in 1969 when the whole route shut, and the line was taken up in 1971.

We only had a quick stop in the area, but it’s worth a look if you are near Carlisle, Gretna or Longtown, although it’s only really accessible by car, you would have a long wait if you wanted to use the station!

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