Oct 2022 – Smardale Gill Viaduct, Westmorland (now Cumbria).

‘Following a full professional inspection of the Grade II* Listed Smardale Gill Viaduct, we commenced a series of works in four phases to preserve the integrity and ensure the long-term security of this iconic structure. Phase 1, the installation of stainless steel mesh panels on the existing railings to meet current safety standards, was completed in 2020 with the help of very kind and generous grants and donations from a number of sources including Railway Ramblers, for which we are most grateful. Phase 2 is the resurfacing and waterproofing of the deck, on which we are currently focusing our attention, to be followed by Phases 3 and 4, removal of vegetation and repairs to the stonework in a number of piers – this latter will be a major and very costly operation. For the deck works, we are working with structural engineers and will shortly be seeking tenders from a number of contractors with a view to work being undertaken in Q3 2023.

This work will be the catalyst for the establishment and development of digital assets to engage a wider and more diverse community in the natural heritage of Upper Eden. With the benefit of an estimate of costs and with the backing of renowned mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, we have undertaken a media campaign on local TV/radio, successfully sought grants and established a crowdfunding campaign at justgiving.com (look for Smardale Gill Viaduct). We are currently in the process of formalising a grant application to the Heritage Fund. The effects of inflation generally and the increased costs of construction materials specifically mean that when we receive firm quotes we will have a funding gap and thus need to continue our fundraising. Further information is available on our website www.edenviaducts.org.uk

(Hugh Eadon, Secretary, Northern Viaduct Trust Ltd