Educational post

Borrowbeck Viaducts, Low Borrowbridge, Lune Gorge near Tebay, Cumbria, UK

This is the point where the centuries-old road through the Lune Gap, from Tebay towards Kendal (now the A685, and behind the camera), meets Fairmile Road, the ancient Roman road from Ribchester; a Roman fort stands just beyond the railway viaduct. Both are now somewhat eclipsed by the M6 motorway, framing the foreground on its 22m-tall viaduct.

There’s a real visual impact to turning off the main road and discovering a Victorian gem almost hidden beneath the vast motorway and modern railway furniture. I’m not sure it’s apparent from the photo, though the motorway viaduct’s architect explicitly intended it, and I can now visualise an angle from which it might be more obvious.

The 20m-tall stone railway viaduct itself presumably dates from the original construction of the Lancaster-Carlisle Railway (L&CR), which opened in 1846, and is presumably by Joseph Locke. It even looks like a triumph of Victorian engineering and, over 160 years old, still carries the busy West Coast Main Line (WCML) from London to Scotland.

The bridge and viaduct cross the mouth of Borrow Beck, on the left, where it joins the River Lune, ~100 m beyond the viaduct. Brockholes Bank, the eastern side of the Lune Gorge, fills the background.