NOW, anyone who has walked to the top of Penyghent from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the lowest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, will know there is a tricky climb to reach the summit, pictured right; most people make the decision to climb up the sharp bit, and take the more gentle route down. Not for the faint-hearted, its a full on, hands and knees scramble, made even more exciting if it’s been snowing, or when it’s a bit blustery.

It really isn’t the kind of climb you would want to tackle in say, flip flops. So, there I was on a recent Sunday, on my own, scrambling up the tricky bit, there was a fair amount of snow, and also a strong wind. Then, emerging out of the mist, and coming down towards me were a mum and dad and a child of about seven, and all three were wearing wellies. I pressed myself up against the ledge and let them pass, ‘bit breezy’, the dad said to me; mum looked distinctly tight-lipped, ‘ I think we ought to have gone the other way around,’ she said.

INTERESTINGLY, the season has not really got underway yet, but there were plenty of people about, and the route was already showing signs of wear and tear. The national park has installed slabs, and signs to encourage people to stick to the paths, but still the damage is evident, especially with all the wet weather of late. I also finished my walk with more stuff in my rucksack than I set off with, two half full bottles of water, casually left at the side of the path.

WHAT about this advert, right, from the Craven Herald of 45 years ago, March, 1975. The half page advert was for Skipton High Street department store, Brown, Muff’s - which went on to be Rackhams, House of Fraser, and is now in the hands of the Edinburgh Wollen Mill group, waiting its next reincarnation.

The very dapper young man, who doesn’t actually look that young, in his very fashionable check trousers and high neck pullover with two young ladies, both bizarrely holding one leg up, which women seemed to do all the time back in the day, usually when being kissed and in black and white films.

Brown, Muff’s, described as ‘not just a store, more of a way of life’ had a ‘good deal of style’, announced the ad. In store was underwear for men and women. ‘Jeanskin’ was a ‘new concept from Sweden’. Cut low to fit below any jeans waistline, the underwear was made from ‘comfortable, breathing cotton’, was designed so as not not show through ‘tight pants’, and came in eight ‘striking colours’.

The gentleman in the advert was wearing ‘slightly flared’, wool and Polyester trousers, which came in nine colours, featuring three check designs, and matching roll neck sweater. One of the women was wearing an ‘Elgee overdress’ for £28, while the other, with the magnificent platform boots, was wearing an Elgee dress and jacket with ‘beautiful, flowered Liberty print, for £38. Brown, Muff’s also had a food hall with speciality teas by Jackson of Piccadilly, no less, no Yorkshire Tea here, and grapefruit juice, all the way from Israel.

ONE of the very many sources of news for reporters on local newspapers, like the Craven Herald, is going through the lists of planning applications submitted to local authorities, but after more than 30 years, even I was stumped by what a ‘poultigery’ was. I checked with my farming colleague, she had never heard the word either.

A poultigery is in fact a home for both pigs and hens. The owners of a guest house in Malham have applied to the Yorkshire Dales National Park to build one so they can grow their own food, specifically bacon and eggs.

They also want to be able to let their customers visit the hens and pigs, and collect their own eggs. What a great idea.

IT was in March, 1920 when Skipton finally decided on the design of its war memorial. Having been discussing it several months, and having initially gone with the idea of a YMCA as a memorial to those who died in the First World War, and then rejected it, the Skipton War Memorial Committee chose the design that we see at the top of the High Street today, top right.

The Craven Herald, which published a photograph of a model of the memorial, described it as having ‘pleasing originality’. The work of John Cassidy, of Lincoln Grove Studios, Manchester, it was described as a ‘three-faced column, embodying many features of Greek architecture’. Costing £3,000, plus £500 for ‘incidental work’, it was to stand 28 feet, with the bronze sculpture of ‘Victory’ at the top taking it to 35 feet. The figure at its base, also of bronze, and stooping in the act of breaking a sword, would be of least life size. Space for some 350 names of those fallen in the war, would be reserved on two faces of the column. It was to be made from hard Yorkshire stone and would accommodate four lamps.

The model had been on show in the town hall for a week and was one of 51 designs originally submitted before being reduced to a short list of seven. The decision was made by Mr Butler Wilson FRIBA, supported by Mr WT Shuttleworth, organising master at the Skipton Science and Art Schools, and county surveyor, Mr A E Aldridge.

The Craven Herald published a list of all the subscribers to the project, including the English Sewing Cotton Company, £105; William Murgatroyd, £100, and Messrs Freeman, Hardy and Willis, £2 and 2 shillings.

MEANWHILE, over in Ingleton, there was the same argument going on as in South Craven, as to whether the parish should accept the offer of a German field gun as a war trophy. Ingleton had been sent the gun from the district council, and it waited at the Midland Station for councillors to decide what to do with it. There followed a lively discussion with the chairman saying the parish council did not feel justified in either accepting it or refusing it. He had spent a great deal of time to find the best way of its disposal; and there were reasonable grounds for both refusing and accepting it. If they did accept it, it would need cleaning up, something that many did not agree with. One suggested it would be ridiculous not to accept it, and wondered at the attitude of some ex-servicemen, while another thought it ought to be ‘put into the beck’ as it would be a ‘nice thing for a man to have this gun which would remind him of one of the guns that blew his son to bits’. There would be some sense in sending a motor ambulance instead of a gun, he said. Another thought it would be a good thing to have the gun so as to instil a sense of patriotism in the rising generation as he was afraid Germany, after its defeat, would be ‘thirsting for revenge’.

After much discussion, carried out with ‘some acrimony’, it was decided to accept the trophy, by 14 votes to 10. I wonder where it is now.

50 years ago, in March, 1970, the Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) recorded its second highest total of incidents. In the previous 12 months, heard members at the organisation’s annual meeting in Settle, there had been 24 incidents. 21 had been in the West Riding, two in Westmorland and one in Lancashire. There had been eight caving incidents resulting from flooding, falls, exposure, falling rock, and one overdue caving party. Two, at Meregill Hole and at County Pot, were fatal and of the longest duration. There was one fell search and 10 fell rescues, and five animal rescues. The CRO had nearly 150 members and 17 patrol clubs and maintained close contact with police, ambulance and other regional caving bodies. There was a loss of £77, but this was mainly due to new capital equipment. A replacement truck, diving equipment and an exposure bag had purchased. The offer of a room at Settle Police Station as a call out and information centre was accepted.