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TITLE
A ScotRail Class 156 crossing the 'Flow Country', 1999
EXTERNAL ID
NRM_NBNW_FNL_DS080627
PLACENAME
unidentified
DATE OF IMAGE
September 1999
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Lynn Patrick
SOURCE
National Railway Museum, York
ASSET ID
19882
KEYWORDS
railway
railways
train
trains
A ScotRail Class 156 crossing the 'Flow Country', 1999

South of Forsinard, a ScotRail Class 156 crosses the 'Flow Country', photographed in September 1999. The mountains Ben Griam Beg and Ben Griam Mor are in the distance beyond the dudh lochans of the Auchentoul Forest.

The 'Flow Country' is the name given to the peat and wetlands of Caithness and Sutherland. The local term for the peat bogs and pool systems is 'flows'. It is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe, and covers about 4,000 km² (1540 mile²). Blanket bogs are wet peat formations that hug the contours of the land and grow at a very slow rate, usually about 1 mm a year. Sphagnum mosses create and sustain the bogs.

The 'Flow Country' was badly damaged between 1979 and 1987 through the planting of non-native conifer forests and the cutting of thousands of miles of drains. The trees dried out the peat, changing the habitat and destroying its value for birds and other wildlife. In an effort to restore the damage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) bought a large area in the centre of the 'Flow Country' and created the Forsinard Nature Reserve, based around the former station buildings at Forsinard.

Background
Over one hundred years ago, two of the most picturesque railways in the world, the Kyle line and the Far North line, were built. Linking them to the rest of the UK rail network is the Highland main line. From 1997 to 2003 the National Railway Museum photographed these three lines, and from the images three exhibitions were created - 'Connection to the Kyle', 'By Firth and Flow' and 'The Highland Link'. The exhibitions were hosted on the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) under the digital exhibition 'North by Northwest' which officially launched the National Archive of Scotland site on 5 June 2001 in Inverness. The collaboration with SCAN lasted until 2009 when 'North by Northwest' was transferred to the Am Baile website.

'North by Northwest' documents living history and records a snapshot of time in the lives of the people and the lines during the closing years of the twentieth century and the emergence of the twenty-first century. The exhibitions celebrated the impact of the Highland railways on the people, landscape and economy of the Scottish Highlands.

We acknowledge support from the following sponsors who funded the photographic survey of the Highland main line, the Kyle and the Far North lines by the National Railway Museum photographers between 1997 and 2003:

Railtrack, Railtrack-Scotland, ScotRail, EWS, Porterbrook, First Engineering, The Highland Rail Network Development Partnership, The Highland Council, Ross & Cromarty Enterprise, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, Safeways, Friends of the National Railway Museum, Perth & Kinross Council, and the Highland Railway Society.

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High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
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A ScotRail Class 156 crossing the 'Flow Country', 1999

1990s

railway; railways; train; trains

National Railway Museum, York

North by Northwest - The Far North Line

South of Forsinard, a ScotRail Class 156 crosses the 'Flow Country', photographed in September 1999. The mountains Ben Griam Beg and Ben Griam Mor are in the distance beyond the dudh lochans of the Auchentoul Forest.<br /> <br /> The 'Flow Country' is the name given to the peat and wetlands of Caithness and Sutherland. The local term for the peat bogs and pool systems is 'flows'. It is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe, and covers about 4,000 km² (1540 mile²). Blanket bogs are wet peat formations that hug the contours of the land and grow at a very slow rate, usually about 1 mm a year. Sphagnum mosses create and sustain the bogs. <br /> <br /> The 'Flow Country' was badly damaged between 1979 and 1987 through the planting of non-native conifer forests and the cutting of thousands of miles of drains. The trees dried out the peat, changing the habitat and destroying its value for birds and other wildlife. In an effort to restore the damage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) bought a large area in the centre of the 'Flow Country' and created the Forsinard Nature Reserve, based around the former station buildings at Forsinard. <br /> <br /> Background<br /> Over one hundred years ago, two of the most picturesque railways in the world, the Kyle line and the Far North line, were built. Linking them to the rest of the UK rail network is the Highland main line. From 1997 to 2003 the National Railway Museum photographed these three lines, and from the images three exhibitions were created - 'Connection to the Kyle', 'By Firth and Flow' and 'The Highland Link'. The exhibitions were hosted on the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) under the digital exhibition 'North by Northwest' which officially launched the National Archive of Scotland site on 5 June 2001 in Inverness. The collaboration with SCAN lasted until 2009 when 'North by Northwest' was transferred to the Am Baile website.<br /> <br /> 'North by Northwest' documents living history and records a snapshot of time in the lives of the people and the lines during the closing years of the twentieth century and the emergence of the twenty-first century. The exhibitions celebrated the impact of the Highland railways on the people, landscape and economy of the Scottish Highlands.<br /> <br /> We acknowledge support from the following sponsors who funded the photographic survey of the Highland main line, the Kyle and the Far North lines by the National Railway Museum photographers between 1997 and 2003:<br /> <br /> Railtrack, Railtrack-Scotland, ScotRail, EWS, Porterbrook, First Engineering, The Highland Rail Network Development Partnership, The Highland Council, Ross & Cromarty Enterprise, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, Safeways, Friends of the National Railway Museum, Perth & Kinross Council, and the Highland Railway Society.