It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything to this blog so the first of the month seems a good time to post a new tale or two. Entitled a mixed bag, today’s blog is all about a few little explorations yesterday to areas not visited for a while and then ending up with a steam train passing through Bridgend.
The day started quietly, my newly-arrived visitors from Australia, my brother and his wife, were up unusually early considering they hadn’t slept on the plane in the preceding 36 hours. Mid morning I dragged then into town as I wanted to visit a one-day exhibition staged by the Hut 9 Preservation Group which was being staged in the newly re-opened Carnegie House, Bridgend’s former town centre library. Outside advertising the event was a vehicle representative of a type used during the second world war; inevitably I photographed it!
Later, after lunch, my brother mentioned he’d never been to the site of the former prisoner-of-war camp at Island Farm on the outskirts of Bridgend. As I live about a half mile away we strolled down to the site to have a good browse around, unfortunately, apart from surviving Hut 9, it is very difficult to interpret the very overgrown site, but we had an enjoyable visit just admiring the vast wealth of wildlife and plants to be found there. We then wandered over towards the site of the former Crossways Country Club and my brother took great delight in interpreting the derelict site, working out where everything had been. In the 1970s he had played there with a couple of the bands with which he had been associated in those days, he wanted to find the approximate position of the stage on which they had performed and he reckons he was pretty close in this picture. I couldn’t resist giving him a stick for a guitar whilst he played for the imaginary audience in front of him, forty or more years have elapsed since he had a live crowd here.
In the evening we planned to see a steam train that was due to pass through Bridgend, a GWR Castle Class locomotive “Nunney Castle”. Although steam trains run through the South Wales main line on a few occasions in a year, not often are they hauled by a class of locomotive that would have operated on the line during their working life, so a Castle was an opportunity not to be missed. I did originally think Bridgend station might be a good location but with the help of Google Streetview decided upon Stormy Overbridge No 1, the view from this vantage point would see the locomotive pulling hard up the last section of Stormy Bank. There were a number of spectators and photographers already positioned on the bridge when we arrived but we managed to find a good space to see the wonderful sight of the loco as it puffed its way up the hill and then beneath us and away into the distance.