I AM indebted to Roger Nelson for supplying me with some fascinating information about Bank Slack, a picture of which appeared on this page, a couple of weeks ago. Many people will have passed the interesting ruins which are now intertwined with tree roots, on their way along the Dales Way link footpath, close to John O Gaunts Reservoir. Roger tells me: "William Grainge in The History and Topography of Harrogate and The Forest of Knaresborough (John Russell Smith, 1871) states that it is "of British origin, and has formed the town or home of a clan or family at a very early stage of our history; probably two thousand years ago". He further states that "The country people believe it to have been made for military purposes, and relate that Oliver Cromwell's cannon was planted here when he battered down the walls of John o' Gaunt's Castle, on the opposite side of the valley". Richard Muir, in The Dales of Yorkshire - A Portrait (Macmillan London Ltd 1991) includes in his mention of "smaller hillforts" in the Dales, after discussing the larger ones at Stanwick and Ingleborough. Certainly its structure remarkably resembles "a reconstruction drawing of the stone ramparts of the Ingleborough hillfort" in Robert White's The Yorkshire Dales - Landscapes through Time (B T Batsford/English Heritage, 1997). Roger, who has taken several photographs of the remains, adds: "I have also read that it may have formed part of the boundary fencing in the deer in the royal hunting ground of Haverah Park, though that may have been a later use of a pre-existing structure (as with the Oliver Cromwell belief, if true). Whatever its purpose, it was probably topped by a stockade, a thorn fence, or cut thorn branches originally, but these have long gone."

ONE wonders just how many gruesome pictures would have appeared in the Craven Herald a hundred years ago, had everyone been kitted out with a smartphone, as they are now. One picture which definitely had required a strong stomach would have been one of the unfortunate calf born with two heads at a farm in Bolton-by-Bowland. The Craven Herald reported that the animal was 'well made' but with two heads, which were as 'nearly alike' as possible. The calf would drink with either mouth, and when one was busy, the other would open and swallow at the same time. The unfortunate animal only lived for a brief 40 hours, but in that time the farmer's business minded daughter charged people a penny each to come and take a look at it. By the time it had died, she had gained an impressive 15 shillings, the equivalent of about £60 in today's money, which she put aside to buy Christmas presents for her children.

THOSE who find themselves in trouble while walking or climbing in the Dales can be grateful to the efforts of a group of youngsters and their homemade lemonade stall at the recent 1940s weekend at Grassington. Stanley Brown, Isadora and Max Scholey, Louie Roberts and Isaac and Tilly Critchley all put in their shifts to raise a brilliant £58.50 for the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association (UWFRA). A spokesman said: "This was their second year and this time they made sure they didn’t run out of lemons. We have invited them all – and their parents for a VIP tour of our headquarters to thank them for this sterling effort."

PEOPLE are being asked to donate new pairs of socks to the Yorkshire Building Society in Skipton as part of its Socktober Appeal. The appeal, which will run throughout October, aims to hand out socks to homeless people to help keep them warm throughout the winter months. It is being run in partnership with the bank's End Youth Homelessness (EYH) and to raise awareness of World Homelessness Day on Tuesday October, 10. Donations of new pairs of socks, plus other items such as woolly hats, gloves, scarves and toiletries can be made at the Skipton branch, on Keighley Road. Steph Ryder, branch manager said: “It’s shocking that so many people have nowhere safe to call their home. A lot of us may take having a clean pair of warm socks to wear for granted but for a homeless person without a proper roof over their heads it’s the last thing on their mind. As well as socks you can also donate hats, scarves, gloves and small sets of toiletries to our appeal – and every single item will go to a homeless person."

The branch is also raising money for EYH by running a raffle to give people the chance to win John Lewis vouchers worth £1,000, £500 and £250.

REGULAR readers of this page will know I do like a cattle picture. So, how about this rather splendid Highland bull, pictured in a field next to Haw Lane, Hellifield. He had made himself a comfortable hole in the grass, but kindly got up and presented himself next to the fence for this picture.

THE news that Craven had been named happiest place in the country to live on Wednesday last week caused much excitement - with, it has to be said, not everyone immediately responding with a smug 'well, of course it is'. Skipton then made it onto the Chris Evan's breakfast show on Thursday when it was featured on his popular Top Tenuous feature. I understand, shortly afterwards the owner of Skipton's Early Doors micro pub was a contestant on Radio Two's Pop Master quiz.