The first ever father and daughter driving team for the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway will be taking the reins this Saturday.

Tasha Clarke was born in Lynton, went to school there and is now a driver on the Cliff Railway. Picture: LLCRTasha Clarke was born in Lynton, went to school there and is now a driver on the Cliff Railway. Picture: LLCR

The attraction’s newest driver, Tasha Clarke, is following in the footsteps of her dad Ashley Clarke, who is chief engineer and general manager at the railway and has worked there since 1979.

Tasha, 25, is a Lynmouth Coastguard volunteer – she was born in Lynton and has worked at the railway for the past five years, beginning with part time work at the ticket office before expressing her interest to qualify as a driver.

The pair are the first father and daughter driving team in the water-powered railway’s 129 years of active service.

Tasha is one of few second-generation drivers of the Cliff Railway. Prior to this it was Jones family, who were the original pioneers of the railway and began its construction in 1888.

Tasha is one of few second-generation drivers of the Cliff Railway. Prior to this it was Jones family, who were the original pioneers of the railway and began its construction in 1888.

Tasha attended Lynton School and then Ilfracombe comprehensive and has volunteered with the coastguard since she was 18, a role that has helped her to develop the essential skills and the attention to detail necessary to become a fully qualified cliff railway driver.

Each driver is required to demonstrate a set of competences within the mechanics and the daily operating procedures of the railway, as well as maintenance, VHF radio use and interaction with visitors.

Drivers are required to pass all of the individual elements prior to their final assessment under the watchful eye of chief engineer, and dad, Ashley Clarke.

Tasha said: “I believe he was extra critical of my driving.

“My dad takes the responsibility and safety of the railway very seriously and if I wasn’t competent, I know he wouldn’t have let me qualify.”

Chairman Rob Newman, added: “It is fantastic that Tasha has put herself forward to be considered as a driver, she works well within the team, and enjoys the interaction with the public.

“It’s encouraging that a new generation of young drivers and engineers are in place to maintain the railway and drive it into the 21st century.”

Last year the Cliff Railway saw Jacob Salmon qualify as a driver at just 18, and he became one of the youngest qualified drivers of the railway, passing his assessment before he had even passed his car driving test.

Although Ashley still retains the record of being the youngest ever driver at just 17, a record that is likely to stand for some time as any new driver must now be 18.

For those wishing to meet Tasha and wave off the first car of the cliff railway season, the Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway will be re-opened by the local scouts on Saturday (February 9) at 10am.