Steam Launch Olive Brown (S.L.O.B.)
To update our scheme to purchase the redundant chimney at Eastgate cement works, we regret to report that, at this point in time, Lafarge has declined to reply to our request. We fear that, once again, the Dalesfolk have missed out on a wonderful opportunity for something quite unique and that the idea is somewhat dead In the water - unlike our next proposed venture.
We are in the process of entering negotiation with Northumbrian Water with regard to the largely redundant Tunstall reservoir. It is our intention to secure a lease on the reservoir for the purpose of running steam launch cruises In the summer season and perhaps beyond. The service will be operated by Jolly Roger Cruises, the small craft division of Titanic Tours, with the W.C.C. being in overall control. We are fortunate to have available for our use the perfect vessel for the venture. Currently dry-docked at Crook where, once a week, the old boiler Is steamed, giving rise to a veritable mountain of hot air, but unfortunately serving no useful purpose is the Steam Launch Olive Brown . (S.L.O.B.)
Our aim is thus having secured the lease, the reservoir will be renamed Lake Mozzarella. The Steam launch will be airlifted from Crook (owing to the roadfs not being wide enough). It will then be berthed (subject to planning consent) at the Bob Hope Memorial quay at the dam end of the lake. (An artist's impression of the scene can be viewed in Wolsingham Library on Wednesdays.)
Having boarded, the launch passengers will enjoy a two-hour tour of the lake from where they can survey the beautiful Tunstall valley. Light refreshments will be served in the Tchyebelnda restaurant and drinks are available in the newly-refurbished Shuttleworth saloon where mine host John will regale the customers with his tall tales, wit and repartee. Tours of the engine room are on offer and it is hoped to arrange diving trips to the sunken village. Our on-line suggestion box welcomes ideas for theme days. Current favourites are yodelling contests and underwater synchronlsed pole dancing. AII-in-all a very pleasant experience.
To maximise our potential customer catchment, area, it is hoped to eventually link up with Second Coming Railways at their Wolsingham station where passengers from Bishop Auckland and further afield can board a classic coach from Weardale Motor Services (not on schooldays) and be transported direct to the lake.
We feel it is vital for the future of Dalesfolk for the venture to succeed as the traditional industries of Weardale (cement manufacturing, lead-mining etc.) have long died out and the proposed eco-village and hot water fountain ideas may only be pipe dreams. We hope to generate interest from One NorthEast and Wear Valley District Council as past experience has shown that both these organisations know a winner when they see one.
Wesley Dale, Project Co-ordinator,
Weardale Cheese Club.
Editor's note: Coincidentally, the week after this story appeared, a certain Councillor Olive Brown resigned as Chairman of Wear Valley District Council