PEOPLE travelling on the 580 bus between Settle and Skipton on Christmas Eve could have been forgiven for thinking Santa himself (pictured below) was behind the wheel.

Not only did the driver have an impressive beard, he was surely the exact person to play Santa, and was wearing a splendid Christmas jumper, he was sporting the most magnificent of headwear, complete with flashing fairy lights and tinsel. Just where the lights were plugged in is something of a mystery.

Sadly, we don’t know his name, but well done driver, you must without a doubt have put festive smiles on many faces. Hopefully, he will be back again next year.

A SURVEY has revealed that the most memorable television moment of 2019 was the explosion of the nuclear power plant in ‘Chernobyl’ a streamed series based on the true events that took place in 1986 in Soviet Ukraine. The survey, the result of a poll by sofa and carpet specialists ScS, also revealed Line of Duty and Game of Thrones appeared twice in the top 14.

Second on the list was in ‘Killing Eve’ when Villanelle shot Eve, while Newsnight’s interview with Prince Andrew on his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein was the third most shocking television moment for those who took part in the survey.

England beating the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup semi-final came in at fourth, while Arya vanquishing the Night King in Game of Thrones was fifth, and Peter Kay’s Car Share Safari park episode came in at sixth. It was back to sport in seventh place, with England winning the Cricket World Cup; Line of Duty was eighth, and the collapse of the factory roof in Coronation Street was ninth. In tenth place was Line of Duty again.

SLIMMING World consultants from across the district celebrated the successes of their groups by meeting chat show host and comedian, Alan Carr.

Alan was co-host of the annual Slimming World Awards held at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre along with the organisation’s founder and chairman Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE, who opened her first group in 1969.

Consultants attending included Carla Weatherill, of Settle; Pauline Howard, from Cross Hills; Ann Hey, of Silsden, and Sarah Rishworth, of Skipton.

Pictured left with Alan Carr are: Sarah Greenwood, Maxine Roberts, Sarah Rishworth, Pauline Howard, Carla Weatherill, and Ann Hey.

Alan, who presented comedy chat show Chatty Man on Channel 4, said: “I met so many people who had transformed their lives and it was clear how much the support they received from their ‘Slimming World family’ meant to them. Every one of them spoke passionately about how they couldn’t have made those changes to eat more healthily and become more active without the support of their consultants and group every week. I left the awards feeling so uplifted and positive, I wish I could’ve bottled that Slimming World feeling.”

The Woman of the Year title was won by Chester-le-Street Slimming World member Maxine Wren, who had lost 17 stones 7lbs.

MY walking colleague tells me she often comes across plastic tree guards while she is out in the countryside, like this one pictured above right. She tells me she has taken to carrying a rucksack about with her that she uses to take all the rubbish she finds back home with her for disposal.

On December 27, BBC Radio 4’s early morning programme, Farming Today, looked at the use of plastic tree guards and how to avoid the use of the single use plastic in the planting of new trees. Taking part in the programme was Carol Douglas, woodland officer for the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, which in November hosted a workshop, ‘Plastic Tree Guards - who needs them? with the aim of sharing information, exploring options and encouraging change to reduce the amount of single used plastics used in woodland creation.

In the programme, Carol was busy taking tree guards off new woodland to the North of Settle, and describing it as ‘wombling’. Carol explained how some 4,000 trees had been planted at the site in 2008, including mostly Ash trees, which were likely to fall victim to Ash Tree dieback. There were also healthy Alder which were mature enough to have their guards removed. Carol explained that the guards were needed to protect the young trees from being eaten by deer, rabbits, voles and hares; the trouble was they were not biodegradable. Taking part in the programme was landowner David Parker, who welcomed the removal of the plastic tubes, and also David Harrison, who has woodland at Bolton Abbey. David said how he had planted more than 40,000 trees at the site, and without the use of plastic tree guards. He left his trees unprotected against animals, and had a more than 80 per cent success rate. He went on to explain how the numbers of deer were controlled, hares were left alone, because they liked the hare, while rabbits were now a rare sight in the area, their numbers depleted by more than 90 per cent, he said, because of myxomatosis.

50 YEARS ago, in January, 1970, Colin Speakman published his book, Transport in Yorkshire. Mr Speakman, said the Craven Herald at the time, was well known for his previous publication, ‘Walking in the Yorkshire Dales’, an extremely popular paperback that had been reprinted. Mr Speakman was an authority on canal systems and other transport networks, and as secretary of the West Riding branch of the Ramblers Association had played an important part in the reopening of several established rights of way. In Transport in Yorkshire, Mr Speakman traced the development of footpaths, Roman roads, medieval highways and turnpikes whose remains are gradually succumbing to the advances of age.

100 YEARS ago, in January, 1920, the Craven Herald reported on the sale of the Gledstone Estate, owned by Colonel R F Roundell, MP for Skipton, had been disposed of to Mr Amos Nelson JP of Thornton-in-Craven. The estate, believed to be some 9,000 acres, had been in the Roundell family for generations and included practically the whole of the parish of Martons Both, with considerable holdings in Barnoldswick, Coates, Bracewell, and surrounding districts.