The Ribblehead Viaduct, Chapel-Le-Dale, Ingleton, carrying the Settle-Carlisle Railway, West Riding of Yorkshire. Engineer, John Sydney Crossley, 1870-1875. Ribblehead, as its name implies, is at the head of Ribblesdale, aptly described as "a open tract of rough ground ... 1,000ft (305m) above sea level and completely open to the extremes and vagaries of the weather" (Scholes 69). Constructed of rock-faced limestone, the viaduct here has 24 arches, the highest being 104'; it is 440 yards long, and its piers were sunk through 25' of mud and clay to the rock below (see "Toothill and Armstrong 8; and "Viaducts"). It is rightly described as "majestic," and as "complementing the sternly magnificent scenery" (Leach and Pevsner 226). [Click on this and the following image for larger pictures.]

The fact that the viaduct is quickly followed by the 2629 yards long Blea Moor tunnnel (above), which required seven intermediate shafts and brick lining as it pierced through the mountain, gives an idea both of the scenery and of the challenges Crossley faced (illustration from Williams 500; measurement from Toothill and Armstrong15).

Photograph by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or to the Victorian Web in a print document.]

Related Material


Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding, Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009.

Scholes, Ron. Yorkshire Dales. 3rd ed. Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Landmark, 2008.

Toothill, David, and Marian Armstrong. The Settle-Carlisle Railway: A Guide to Your Journey: Leeds. Settle. Carlisle. The Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company, 2010.

"Viaducts". The Settle-Carlisle Railway. Web. 20 August 2011.

Last modified 20 August 2011