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  • Location: Settle, Ribbleswick, Yorkshire Dales

The Railway Girls

The Railway Girls

Why a Booktrail?

1870s: Previously published as Trouble on The Wind in 1997

  • ISBN: 978-1471159619
  • Genre: Historical, Sagas

What you need to know before your trail

Deep in the dales of the West Riding Fells lies Scarsbeck, a remote village peopled by a close-knit community of colourful characters: Ellie Birkett, steadfastly resisting her mother’s attempts to marry her off; Vicar Hardy, wrestling with the temptations of the flesh; Ezra Bulstrode, village headmaster, with an unhealthy dedication to the education of his young students; and enigmatic woman Beth Wildman, who believes she can foresee the future. Surrounded by wild moorland and the majestic Yorkshire peaks, time seems to stand still in this magical corner of the world.

But change is on its way. The dales echo with fearsome noise; construction scars the hillside: the railway is coming – right through Scarsbeck village. And with the arrival of a huge workforce charged with building the railway, the peaceful idyll is shattered for ever.

Travel Guide

Settle to Carlisle Railway

This novel has its origins in the fight to save the Settle to Carlisle Railway from closure. It was written to celebrate its reprieve.

“Travel northwards via the Settle to Carlisle route and then cross the Ribblehead Viaduct over Batty Green Moss to Blea Moore, Arten Gill, DentHead and beyond. Nature has erased the brief  presence of “navvy time”. Nothing remains of our shanty towns but tracks etched into the turf, spoil heaps overgrown; in lonely village kirkyards rest the bones of us rough men and women who battled against the ferocious climate to build this iron road of blood.”

The author points out that you won’t find Scarsbeck in Scarsdale on any map as it’s fictional and a mix of many villages along the Settle to Carlisle route. Her story is fictitious yet she has based many events on the true story during the railway’s construction.

Streetview Maps

A) Yorkshire Dales - Settle Railway
A) Yorkshire Dales - Ribbleswick Viaduct

Booktrailer Review

Susan:  @thebooktrailer

Having been on the Settle – Carlisle railway and knowing a small part of the history, what a lovely find this book was! Some is of course fictional but it’s heavily based and inspired by the author who states why she had to write this novel and why she loves the story of the railway. The book has been published before as Trouble on the Wind under her other name Helene Wiggan so be aware of that, but I’m not surprised why she decided to release it again under her well-known name as it’s just as relevant as it was then, perhaps more so!

It’s a timeless story which you can really feel goes back to the real  history and heritage of this part of the world. The railway seems so everyday now but it was once at the heart of a community and the people who helped build it. The story takes you back and evokes the essence of the hard work and grit it must have taken to live in the countryside and have this modern day saviour or scourge, which ever way you saw it, built across your landscape.

The essence of Yorkshire family life, charm and grit shines through, the farming communities and the villagers who are going to bear the brunt of this development. It’s  a fascinating piece of history all wrapped up in a fictional bow, but one with a real homage to a great event in history which you can really revisit thanks to Leah Fleming!


Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Railway Girls

Destination: Settle, Ribbleswick, Yorkshire Dales  Author/Guide: Leah Fleming  Departure Time: 1870s

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