Letter: Memories of the great excavation

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I am writing on behalf of Rocks By Rail - The Living Ironstone Museum at Cottesmore.

This year sees the 40th anniversary of The Great Walk made by the massive drag line excavator known as Sundew.

Sundew spent three months during the summer of 1974 walking the nine miles from Exton Park to Corby at just a tenth of a mile per hour.

In doing so, the machine entered folklore in this region. It was a mammoth feat of engineering.

At Rocks By Rail, we have one of Sundew’s driving cabs. It sits overlooking our quarry interpretation area.

On July 20 this year we will be holding a special event to mark the anniversary of Sundew’s epic walk.

As well as running our regular passenger service we hope to assemble a photo-time line of Sundew’s walk, and this is where we’d like to make an appeal to the public.

We wish to collect as many photos as we can that people took of Sundew in that summer of 1974 and display them in our Sundew cafe.

We would also be interested in any pictures people may have of the machine working at either Exton Park or Corby.

Perhaps some of your readers even worked with Sundew at those places, or helped it along the way between one and the other - we’d very much like these people to come along too.

We will be holding a barbecue in the shadow of Sundew’s cab, and it would be fantastic to share in people’s memories of quarrying with these vast machines.

Any material can be mailed to us, or brought along to us on any Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday.

Anything donated for this event will be returned to the owner if required.

Steven Parker

Ashwell Road, Cottesmore