PLENTY of people will have seen the distinctive orange and blue ‘Captain Tom Moore’ locomotive - in Skipton recently. Named after the former Keighley 100 year old who has so far raised an incredible more than £32 million for the NHS, it is pictured here, by Robin Moule,  on the Swinden Quarry line passing over Otley Road.

Owner GB Railfreight named the129-tonne, Class 66 freight locomotive in honour of Capt Moore, as a birthday gift and in thanks for his amazing fundraising efforts for the NHS.

In addition to the name, the loco bears the inscription ‘A true British inspiration’. The name plates were produced by Procast, one of which was donated by Neil Booth, Director of Railwayana Auctions UK Ltd, as a thank you for Capt Moore’s efforts.

The naming took place to coincide with Capt Moore’s 100th birthday, on April 30, and the name plate was unveiled by GB Railfreight managing director John Smith, with Capt Moore watching the ceremony from his home.

GB Railfreight says it wanted to do its bit to thank NHS workers for their efforts during the coronavirus crisis, decided to paint a locomotive with a message of gratitude and also to name the engine after Capt Moore.

Following the reaction to the Captain Tom Moore locomotive, GB Railfreight teamed up with model manufacture Hornby Hobbies to make a miniature version, with all profits being donated to the NHS.

Hornby initially planned to make just 500 models, but in less than 48 hours sold more than 2,500. Since then, it has added 1,000 more to its stocks, and a percentage will be given to NHS charities, so far the model has raised £140,000.

The full-size Captain Tom Moore locomotive has already been playing its part to help the covid-19 recovery by hauling loads, including containers carrying PPE gloves, from Southampton to distribution centres around the country.

The company says it is playing its part in supporting the response by helping to keep essential services running across the country and ensuring that warehouses and supermarkets remain stocked, and vital medical supplies are transported across the country whilst ensuring all of its team are being kept as safe as possible.

HORSE riders desperate to get out and exercise their horses and ponies across miles of open countryside will be pleased to hear that Craven Country Ride, at Pot Haw Farm, Coniston Cold, has reopened, along with other forms of outside exercise, such as golf clubs.

The ride opened on Monday, for exercise only, there will be no jumping, and it will operate under strict social distancing rules. It will however include the water feature, meadows and a woodland walk; so plenty of opportunities to enjoy the vast open spaces, nature - you may be lucky enough to see a deer or two - and lots of fresh air.

The parking area has been expanded, to allow visitors to stay clear of each other, and people are being asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines - so two metres apart at all times. The clubhouse will be open for signing in only, washing of hands and first aid, and all the furniture has been removed. Only riders can attend for now, so no accompanying walkers or dogs. Young riders may be accompanied by just one responsible adult, and of course, horses must be accompanied by their passports. Riders must book ahead of time, telephone 07754834756 or 01756 749300.

On the subject of Pot Haw Farm, it’s rather splendid wind sculpture, pictured below, was gaily decorated in red, white and blue, as part of the VE Day anniversary celebrations.

I WAS interested to see frogspawn close to the bank of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal between Barnoldswick and East Marton, or rather tadpoles. I don’t remember seeing frogspawn in the canal before, or maybe its because I was closer to the water than usual, social distancing another walker.

The Canal and River Trust, which last week welcomed anglers being allowed back on canals for the first time in seven weeks, following changes to the Government’s coronavirus guidelines, has reminded anglers they can only visit the waterway alone, with members of their own household, or with one other non-household member; and importantly, they can only fish where strict social distancing can be maintained.

At the same time the charity says it has received a 300 per cent increase in the number of fish distress callouts compared to this time last year due to decreased levels of oxygen in the water. Thanks to calls from alert members of the public, it says it has helped to save at least 100,000 fish in the past seven weeks.

Peter Birch, national environment policy advisor at the Canal and River Trust explained: “Fish are sometimes overlooked by visitors to our canals, but they are integral to the ecosystem and a vital part of the wider food chain on our waterways. The joy of spotting a kingfisher, otter or heron is very much down to what’s going on below the water level. Fish are a great indicator of good water quality – if the fish are thriving, so will other waterway wildlife. The canals are generally healthier than ever and we’re keeping a close eye on the particular circumstances that are causing problems right now and taking action to support the fish.”

Instances of fish distress and fatalities -known as fish kills - occur when oxygen levels in the water decrease, and the trust says it is aware of two key factors causing this at the current time.

High levels of sunlight during April helped algae blooms to flourish much earlier in the year than usual, and also a rise in pollutants in the waterways, from accidental spills or even deliberate illegal disposal of pollutants.

It says oxygen levels in the water on the Leeds and the Liverpool Canal and the Lancaster Canal were close to zero before it intervened, and around 50,000 fish were estimated to be at risk of dying on each waterway.

As these conditions could persist throughout lockdown as we move into the summer, the trust is asking anglers returning to enjoy fishing on their local waterways as well as members of the public to report any instances of fish in distress or any other unsociable behaviour on their towpaths or waterways.