FEW have written more words about Yorkshire than Settle journalist and author WR "Bill" Mitchell. A year after his death, aged 87, The Dalesman has published a batch of his stores compiled and selected by his son, David. Clive White takes a look.

Bill Mitchell was a dyed in the wool Yorkshireman. A writer passionate about this vast county from the once mine-lands of the southern gritstone Pennines, to his beloved limestone country and on into the windswept cliffs of the East coast.

His past catalogue is vast and right up to his death, a year ago, he was still hammering on the the keyboard living up to the pithy Yorkshire maxim he lived by "T'hardest wark is doin' nowt". So his son, David, must have burnt the midnight oil in his quest to find those literary gems which best reflect his dad's love of "God's own country."

"Bill Mitchell's Yorkshire, A Lifetime of Yorkshire Memories" is the result. It is a march through his life exploring the county and its folk. The tales inevitably reflect the Bill's personality - his fascination with people - as well as the progress of his life and work.

And what emerges is his voice - the author's voice - something as recognisable as the cut of his jib. Bill's style is easy, economical, inviting. And it helps that his life was long and the stories he has to tells captivating.

The book is divided into 12 sections of 64 stories reflecting the "chapters" of his working life and the eclectic range of his output from his tales of the unique Yorkshire characters he met along the way, his interviews with iconic Yorkshire celebrities like the great J.B.Priestley, his love of nature and wildlife, the traditions of the county and of course the powerful scenery especially of his beloved Yorkshire Dales.

We learn about Bill's youth in Skipton in the 1930s. The murky, choking air, the result of six mills belching out their smoke. He tells of his courtship of Freda on the Gargrave bus and we meet him with his young family, David and Janet..

He gets a job on the Craven Herald - we still work in the same room next to the fireplace that kept him and his colleagues warm donkey's years ago.

His scribblings were interrupted by a stint in the Royal Navy and as Bill says he was only ever at sea "for a few miles."

His stint over as a "jack tar" he lands the job which was to define his career and indeed his character for the next 50 years, reporting for The Dalesman and eventually Editing the magazine.

Bill recalls in a piece he wrote to mark his 40 years with the periodical how its first office was in the home in Clapham of Dorothy and Harry Scott founders of the magazine. Harry had been a reporter in Leeds.

Bill recounts: "Harry Scott sat at the large desk with his back to the coke stove. He regulated the heat using a piece of thick cardboard which was slid along the back of the seat as a baffle if the rising temperature threatened to melt his spine.

"My desk was in the darkest corner. A single electric light bulb protruded from a fitment on the wall, a piece of bent tin directing light downwards and providing a substitute for sunlight." A far cry from the office the Dalesman now occupies at Broughton Hall.

His meeting with fellow scribbler and tyke, Jack Priestley - arguably the greatest writer in English of the 20th century - was serendipitous and extra-ordinary.

He landed home for lunch in springtime 1965 - an unusual occurrence - to find the great man ensconced in his front room, Freda all a flutter. Bill took him around Settle to meet some of the local characters eventually leaving him with Harry Scott.

Twenty seven years earlier Priestley had written to Scott to wish him every success with the launch of the magazine. "I was delighted that, through the appeal of The Dalesman, I had enjoyed a very special visit," writes Bill.

But famous celebrity or humble rustic made no difference to Bill Mitchell as the book reflects in telling us such tales as Sally - real name Sarah - of Settle who kept a parrot by the name of Susie which could smoke a pipe, do simple sums and imitate the walk of a drunken man, and Tot Lord of Settle, greengrocer, archaeologist and wildfowler.

His story about how broadcasting came to Craven seems now in this era of mass and immediate communication - almost mediaeval. And when there was time to listen it was a real treat. Bill remembers the time he met a farmer who dressed for a special occasion - to listen to the radio broadcast of Saturday Night Theatre.

The book's introduction is by Bill's son David, who eventually found himself toiling as a reporter for the Daily Telegraph after finishing his career as a teacher, aged 55. Ironically, this journalism focussed on a subject to which Bill had shown scant attention - sport and football at that!

David recalls: "The only sport which absorbed his attention, bizarrely, was wrestling on ITV at five to four every Saturday afternoon. He would watch avidly as Mick McManus, Billy Two Rivers and others would wrestle each other to submission. I waited patiently to turn over to watch the teleprinter bring in the football results on Grandstand with David Coleman.

David is to sign copies of the book at Clapham village store on Thursday, October 27, from 6pm and on Tuesday, November 29, at The Folly, Settle between 10am and 4pm.