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Friday, September 01, 2017

The Man Who Loved Shakespeare



Should you drive from the southern coast of British Columbia into the Interior, you might choose to take the Coquihalla Highway. Along the way you might be intrigued by road signs for Romeo, Portia, Lear, Juliet, and more. 


Andrew McCulloch was the brilliant engineer in charge of constructing the Kettle Valley railway through an incredibly challenging landscape, including the Coquihalla River canyon with its sheer cliffs and narrow gorges.


If you take the turn off to the Othello Tunnels, you can walk along the old railbed and through the tunnels, as we did a couple of weeks ago.


There are three tunnels, dark, damp places blasted and chipped from solid rock. It's good to have a flashlight, or failing that, a strong arm to hold. Between the tunnels are two bridges. 


Looking down, the water rushes over and around boulders of all sizes and shapes. Rock faces jut sharply over the river, low now in late summer. It was a hot day and the water looked cool and inviting, but there were warnings that the swift water was dangerous and one could be swept away by the current.


McCulloch loved Shakespeare, and named several of the railway stops for characters in the plays. It is said that often, in the evenings, around the campfire, he read Shakespeare. 


Although the rail line has been long abandoned, McCulloch's feat of engineering is remembered as modern travelers hike along his route, and the signs that flash by as cars zoom up and over the mountains bear witness to his literary preferences. 



I wonder what he would think of our modern highways and fast cars. I like to think Andrew McCulloch would smile to see the names he chose still in use today. 

20 comments:

  1. Wow, how interesting - Othello Tunnels! Great photos Lorrie, thank you for sharing & happy weekend.

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  2. Wonderful photos, such a joy to be able to see the amazing feat of engineering through your eyes. I love that the names used are still in use today. The joy of blogging and seeing parts of the World I would never have chance to see.

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  3. What a beautiful and interesting place! Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. My hubby will LOVE THIS POST. Thanks

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  5. That is really neat that the names haven't been changed. There is so much beauty in these photos.

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  6. I've long been intrigued by the Shakespearian names as we've driven the Coquihalla but didn't know the story. Thanks for sharing, Lorrie!

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  7. Well I've never been a fan of Shakespeare but I think it's neat that someone else was and used the names to remind people of his work. - That railway tunnel is super cool although I might be scared to try it since heights bother me now & looking at that rushing water would make me a bit leery. It sure is a pretty color & a very scenic area.

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  8. How lovely imagining McCulloch by his campfire reading Shakespeare. Lovely to think his names live on. B x

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  9. It looks a lovely spot and the waters have a glacial quality to them with their icy blue colour.

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  10. I love that you take us on amazingly beautiful adventures.

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  11. Great pictures, and interesting post. The geology there is amazing.

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  12. Magnificent scenery - what a great walking trail.

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  13. Names are interesting aren't they? They probably more often than not tell about the history of a place, if someone did some research.

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  14. You have taken us on many a beautiful adventure this summer :) Beautiful shots and interesting from a historical perspective as well!:)

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  15. Another gorgeous place to visit in your beautiful country. :)

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  16. I've never read Shakespeare in such beautiful surroundings!
    Wonderful photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  17. Lorrie, I love this! The photos are stunning, and of course I love the idea of Mr McCulloch reading Shakespeare in the evenings. This place is going on my to-do list!

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  18. Oh, now I want to be sure we get in a drive to the Othello Tunnels yet this fall!

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