Dear Reader: Road blocks after level crossing accident

Graham Chalmers.

Graham Chalmers.

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Weekly column by Graham Chalmers

My wife wasn’t on the train that crashed at the level crossing in the fields outside Knaresborough last week but she was on the train that was affected by the crash.

Stranded at Hammerton railway station, she decided to walk the 8.75 miles along the side of the A59 back to Harrogate while I tried to get to her by car.

That turned out to be easier said than done.

The police were closing roads at every turn, only ambulances were making it through.

Save for the noise of sirens, the area was deserted and eerily quiet, like a scene from a disaster movie.

By taking a wiggly-wiggly route round the villages I finally got back on the A59 and eventually spotted my wife.

What a worry. What a drama. But we weren’t the ones in the crash.

I found myself outside the lovely ivy-covered, weather-beaten Craven Arms at Appletreewick at the weekend watching members of my club, the Nidd Valley Road Runners compete in a fell race.

The field were a hardy looking bunch but that’s no surprise.

Most fell runners are half man, half mountain goat with a casual disregard for the possible risks.

The Charlesworth Chase involved running 4.1km straight up the 1201ft to the trig point at Simon Seat, then 4.1km straight back down over slippery shale, jaggedy boulders and loose stones.

But one final challenge lay ahead for them before the end.

Each runner had to drink a pint of the pub’s gorgeous Yorkshire beer before they crossed the line on legs streaked with blood from the occasional scramble or fall.

It’s hard to believe how hard this turned out to be - unless you saw it for yourself. At one point a fellow spectator turned to me and said she reckoned the experience was putting them off the very idea of beer itself.

Not for long I bet.