A COLLEAGUE out walking in Chapel-le-Dale came across this fantastic-looking sculpture on a bridlepath heading up to Ellerbeck. The work of sculptor and artist Charles l’Anson, it was ripped up and thrown down the nearby Hurtle Pot in August, 1983. It was then recovered by divers in 30feet of water and put back in its spot, where it remains today - and what an interesting, if somewhat spooky, sight it makes.

NEWS has reached me of the first sighting of a red kite at Nethergill Farm in Buckden. The eco farm which prides itself as a nature haven covers some 400 acres in Langstrothdale, at the head of the River Wharfe and is home to a myriad of birds and wildlife, including red squirrels. Also on the farm, which welcomes visitors to stay in one of its converted haylofts, are rare breed Whitefaced Woodland sheep and White Shorthorn cattle, multicoloured chickens and an indispensable working sheepdog. But now, it has had its first sighting of the impressive bird of prey, the red kite, which along with the recently arrived curlews, is causing much excitement at the farm. And who knows, if the red kite - which has a wingspan of more than five feet - really takes to the Dales, they could quickly be as common a sight as they are in other parts of the country.

FROM the beginning of April, the blue bags dispensed by Craven District Council to householders for the collection of paper and cardboard, will be no more. Instead, people will be able to dispose of their old newspapers and such like in the blue wheelie bins, along with the cans and glass. But for every responsible re-cyclist out there - what to do with the blue bag? The good folk at Craven council are suggesting residents could perhaps find another use for them, rather than dump them in the non-recyclable, green bin, which seems a bit sad. One use that springs to mind is using them while weeding, to gather up bits around the garden for disposal in the compost bin. I’m told they are also very good for sledging in the winter, and of course a lot easier to carry to the top of a hill than a wooden sledge. On that theme, what about using them in children’s sack races? Making sure head and arm holes are cut first, of course. Perhaps readers have some other suggestions?

WHILE in the delightful hamlet of Chapel-le-Dale, my colleague was fascinated by the amount and variety of moss, particularly in the area behind the tiny chapel. The church of St Leonard is just 48 feet long and 20 feet wide, but has plenty of visitors. It is also the resting place of more than 200 men, women and children who died from accident or disease while working or living in the shanty town that sprang up during the building of the nearby Ribblehead Viaduct and Blea Moor Tunnel towards the end of the 19th century.

CRAVEN councillors at a recent meeting of the Policy Committee were delighted to hear the news that Skipton Town Hall was to receive a new Union Flag - or Union Jack. Cllr Robert Heseltine had mentioned how a resident had spoken to him about the present flag and how it was starting to look a little tatty. In response, Cllr Simon Myers, lead member for the town hall, was able to report that a resident of Craven was to donate a new Union Flag, and that it would be of a decent size, in recognition of the importance of the town hall.

DRYSTONE walls in the Dales are much prized as we know. Who indeed can forget the rumpus when the Tour de Yorkshire visited and miles upon miles of wall were filmed, in case of damage caused by eager cycling fans clambering all over them in search of a better view? Now, a story has come my way from The Bishop of Leeds, the Right Reverend Nick Baines, who tells how a clergyman was rebuilding the wall of his Dales property. Having recently moved in, he set about working on the crumbling wall to prevent the sheep in the adjoining field from ever jumping into his garden. As he built away, the sheep watched, in a way he felt to be judging. So, he built the wall extra strong. The next morning, he looked out of his window to find his garden full of sheep. Curious, he asked the farmer why now - after the wall had been rebuilt. And, the answer from the farmer? They wouldn’t risk jumping on it before, because it was wobbly. So, there you have it.

COUNCILLOR Myers has reported on the relative success of an honesty box placed in the public toilets in Gargrave. The parish council took over management of the public facilities a few years back, when Craven District Council handed over the responsibility of a number of village toilets a few years back. The parish council wanted to look after the very large number of walkers and cyclists who visit the village he said, and had worked hard to make sure the toilets were kept clean and tidy. To that end, it had installed an honesty box, which although did not cover the cost, did manage to raise a few hundred pounds every month.

AND, just in case anyone was wondering about the picture of women porters at Skipton Railway Station during World War One - the picture itself mysteriously vanished from last week’s Diary - so here it is again, left.