Television - Time Team in Garsdale - July 2008
Time Team is a group of archaeologists and historians who spend
three days investigating a site of interest. Their efforts are
televised on Channel 4 and therefore, as would be expected, the team
contains some colourful characters.
Time Team spent three days in July investigating an archaeological
site in Garsdale. The Settle-Carlisle was built over the period
1869-1876 and one of the major constructions on it was a tunnel at
Risehill. As a result it was necessary to build a camp above the
surface to accommodate the people and machinery required.
Prefabricated huts were erected to
house the navvies and their families.
Each hut contained a married couple and their family, if they had
one, plus a number of navvies who boarded with them.
Two air shafts were constructed and the material excavated from the
tunnel was raised by machinery to the surface through them. This
produced spoil heaps which still run out like fingers from the
shafts rising to several metres high in some cases.
Some days before the dig started
researchers arrived to consult with members of the Sedbergh &
District History Society to discover what was known about the site
and those who lived on it. As a result of the help
given, a small party from the
society was invited to visit the site during the second day of the
After a drive along the Coal Road between Garsdale and Dent Station,
made difficult by the damage done by log lorries, we drove for over
a mile on worse tracks through the forest.
We eventually arrived at the base camp where there were parked
vehicles, tents and all the equipment needed to film a television
programme. Before lunch we wandered around the site watching the
digs in progress one of which involved Phil Harding. We also
encountered other leading characters including Tony Robinson who
fronts the programme. We then joined in the excellent communal lunch
and if an army marches on its stomach, then Time Team certainly digs
After lunch we met the historians in the team and discussed the
sources which give information about the site and the people who had
lived there during the railway's construction.
Later we were filmed talking to Dr Helen Geake about these topics.
Having finished that, and after a most interesting and enjoyable
day, we set out to return to Sedbergh wondering if we would feature
in the televised programme or merely end up on the cutting room