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Closed 27/06/2023


Iconic Smardale Gill Viaduct in Cumbria's Upper Eden Valley is at risk. The stone work is severely damaged by water and needs urgent repair. Please help us Save Smardale Gill Viaduct by accepting the #14Peaksfor14Arches challenge.
raised of £20,000 target
by 382 supporters
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Closed on 27/06/2023
RCN 702573

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Thank you for helping us to raise our first £10,000. We so very much appreciate it. Please keep going! Eden Viaducts need to raise around £100,000 to Save Smardale Gill Viaduct. Please help us by accepting the #14Peaksfor14Arches challenge, covering 90 miles (for 90 feet) whilst doing so. The challenge takes in some of the most popular fells in the areas surrounding Smardale Gill Viaduct: Nine Standards Rigg, Wild Boar Fell, High Cup Nick, Smardale Fell, Tailbridge Hill, Great Asby Scar, Crosby Garrett Fell, Blease Fell, Murton Pike, High Seat on Mallerstang, Green Bell, Dufton Pike, Cross Fell and Little Fell.

People who, for whatever reason, cannot scale the 14 fells can still join in by covering 90 miles in 14 stages in their garden or high street, on an exercise bike or however they choose.

You can take part in the fundraising challenge by clicking on the Start Fundraising button. Then simply set up your fundraising page and ask your friends and family to join in by sponsoring you. You can then keep your friends, family, and Eden Viaducts up to date with your progress by posting videos and pictures as you take on the challenge. If you are signed-up to Strava, you can embed it on your fundraising page so we can all follow your progress on a map and cheer you on.

Eden Viaducts will send every fundraisers a #14Peaksfor14Arches to #SaveSmardaleGillViaduct T-shirt to help publicise their efforts.

Beautiful Smardale Gill Viaduct curves dramatically above Scandal Beck in the wild landscape of south-east Cumbria.

Image courtesy of Julian Thurgood

It was designed by Cumbrian engineer Sir Thomas Bouch for the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway in 1861 to carry coke to the iron and steel furnaces in and around Barrow. Constructed of locally quarried sandstone, it towers 90 feet above the valley and its 14 30-foot arches span 553 feet across the remote valley.

The decline of the steel industry led to the lines closure in 1962 and the viaduct stood disused for over twenty years. Deteriorating from lack of maintenance and exposure to the elements, it was scheduled for demolition. That's when a group of enthusiasts stepped in to save it, forming the Northern Viaduct Trust in 1989 to preserve the viaduct for future generations.

NVT acquired two further viaducts in the Kirkby Stephen area, Merrygill and Podgill, along with a section of disused railway and secured listed status for all three viaducts. We are committed to free public access to all three viaducts and we maintain footpaths across all three so that everyone can enjoy these amazing historical monuments to our railway history.

Image by J Marsh

Thirty years on and Smardale Gill Viaduct is once again in need of substantial renovation. A comprehensive survey, conducted in 2021, found that water penetration from the deck had caused significant damage to the stonework. Our engineers advise that we waterproof the deck and install new drainage to prevent further deterioration. We will then need to carry out major repairs to several of the stone piers.

The estimated cost of this vital work to preserve Smardale Gill Viaduct is around £1million. The first phase - waterproofing and re-surfacing the deck - is £90,000. We are asking for help to reach that sum.

We have no income and rely on the generosity of donations from individuals and heritage grants. We urgently need your help.


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RCN 702573
Spectacular Smardale Gill Viaduct needs significant restoration. The stonework is deteriorating badly. NVT formed in 1989 to buy the viaduct, part of the defunct historical South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway, keeping it open for all to enjoy. Please help us Save Smardale Gill Viaduct.

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