Well, these two certainly don’t hang around in one place for very long! After exhausting the entertainment possibilities of their own attic a couple of weeks ago, Paddy and Plunkett decided that the time was right to hit the road again.
Next thing I knew, they were sending me pictures from Devon, in south-west England! And it looks like Plunkett was in charge of organising their first day out, because they began their explorations at the historic Babbacombe Cliff Railway, just outside Torquay! Plunkett has a bit of a thing for trains.
Unfortunately, Paddy has a bit of a thing for jumping in front of the camera.
“Paddy! Sit down!”
“But look! There’s another carriage coming up on the other side!”
Plunkett finally got his first Paddy-free shot when their Beastie-sized funicular train reached its destination – right to the seashore at beautiful Oddicombe Beach. As Paddy dashed off to skim stones over the water, Plunkett looked back up the tracks…
… Then took a few steps back to watch as a fresh carriageful of visitors were delivered right to the water’s edge.
The car really does look very strange when you view it from the side!
The idea for the Babbacombe Cliff Railway dates back to the 1890s – those Victorians loved a good seaside gadget – but it wasn’t completed until 1926. The 720-foot-long track saves people a very irksome uphill walk at the end of their day at the beach, so it’s little wonder it soon became a popular attraction – records for 1935 say that 192,000 people made the trip that year!
But more recently, the railway fell on hard times. Following a significant breakdown in 2003, it closed for 6 weeks… and although services did still run occasionally after that, it was in need of hugely expensive repairs that the local council simply couldn’t afford. Luckily, some enthusiastic locals set up the Friends of the Babbacombe Cliff Railway group, and made it their mission to promote the railway and raise money for the repairs. Thanks to their hard work and the sale of St Marychurch’s Town Hall in 2005, the funds were finally there – so the railway got its much-needed overhaul. Everything got an upgrade – cars, cables, rails and control systems! By the end of winter 2006-7, the repairs were finished and the Babbacombe Cliff Railway was back on track!
So, with some nice clear photographs and a brainful of information from the visitor centre, Plunkett rejoined Paddy for a walk along the shoreline. This beach is on Devon’s Jurassic Coast, so the steep cliffs are made from stunning rich red sandstone – you can see them a bit in the photo above. The main attraction for the boys was this waterfall… Complete with Beastie-sized viewing platform!
But they couldn’t dawdle here all day… Quick, you’re about to miss the last train home! And walking up that hill will be no fun on little short legs!
Fortunately, they juuuuust made it in time. And after catching his breath on the journey back up, Plunkett felt brave enough to clamber up on a railing to get one last look at the train!
Are there any weird and wonderful attractions near you? Be sure to tell us all about them in the comments – perhaps Paddy and Plunkett will come to check them out on a future visit!
Oh, and also… Welcome to May! The latest Beastie calendar page is up in the shop and ready to download, if you haven’t already! You can find it here.
We’ll be back on Friday with more Beastie fun and games – see you then!