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Channel 4 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 dig.

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 on its.

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 floor.

Richard Cann