ON one of my increasingly lengthy walks in the country this week, I was on a fairly well used bridlepath near Coniston Cold when a stoat dashed across the path in front of me, with a kit in its mouth. I settled myself down near by, and sure enough, a few minutes later, the stoat re-appeared, this time on its own, and returned back the way it had come. After a few more minutes, it was back, with another kit in its mouth. I sat and watched for a while as the little animal repeated the journey six times; only when a fellow walker with a miniature dachshund came into view did it pause it its endeavours. The field from where the stoat had come was being mowed; I decided that the clever little thing had decided to up sticks and move its family to a quieter location. It was something of a wildlife rich walk, just earlier, close to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on some low lying fields, I had spotted a little egret, which for some reason was standing very still watching a crouching hare not 10 feet away.

WE’RE all experiencing the strangest of times during the coronavirus lockdown - and one council in our area is asking people to share their experiences for its historical archive.

Lancashire County Council’s archives service is keen to create a new collection so that future generations can understand the personal and very real impact of Covid-19.

And, it is asking people in West Craven to send in copies of their diaries and photographs that show how their life has changed during the pandemic.

Artwork that has been created – from rainbows painted by children to cheer people up, to sketches of what sums up life for someone, can also be included.

Anyone taking part can write, draw, make a sound recording, a short video recording or take photographs about what is different now and how this makes them feel.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, the council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “As the coronavirus crisis continues, we think that it is important to create a lasting memory of this very challenging time, and we are asking people to share their stories. The pandemic has shown us just how caring and creative people can be to help them through some difficult times, and I think that it is important to record this social history for future generations.”

The service is also trying to collect other contemporary material such as posters and flyers, and the experiences of parents and carers as they look after children at home.

Contributions are welcomed from everyone, including children and young people. They can be submitted by: Emailing archives@lancashire.gov.uk.

By hard copy including your name, age and the place where you live (not your full address) to Lancashire Archives, Bow Lane, Preston PR1 2RE

People can also contact the service if they have digital files too large to email at archives@lancashire.gov.uk.

Finally, the council is keen to point out that anyone taking part should not risk their own or anyone else’s health while gathering material.

All government guidelines regarding hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation should be followed.

For more information visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/archives, telephone 01772 533039 or email record.office@lancashire.gov.uk

I’VE been tasked with trying to find out anything at all about this rather fine looking trotting horse, right. Reader John Clark says her name was ‘Lady R’ and at the time she was the holder of the British record in a time of two minutes, 17.2 seconds. Not sure which record though, and where it was taken - although John believes it is highly likely to have been on the Yorkshire or Lancashire area, and possibly in Craven.

OUR friends over at Dalesman Publishing, based at Skipton Castle, have launched a competition for readers to design front covers for its four magazines, Dalesman, Down Your Way, The Countryman and Cumbria.

It says with so many of us in lockdown and confined to our homes, it wanted to give people something to keep them occupied.

A spokesperson said: “We want people to design your very own front cover. You can use the pages in May’s magazines - photocopy it and send your entry, print out a version we have posted on our Facebook and Twitter feeds and send it, or download a PDF version from our website and send it.

“Whether you are someone who likes colouring-in, a budding artist or a graphic designer, give it a go! And if it’s not for you, maybe your children or your grandchildren might like to get creative. It could also be a great project for the whole family to enjoy, the only stipulation is entries have a Yorkshire theme, obviously.”

There will be prizes, there will be some VIP judges, and entries may even make it into a future edition of The Dalesman.

IT was 50 years ago, on May 23, 1970, that the giant waterwheel at Skipton’s High Corn Mill (pictured above) started turning again. The waterwheel had been lying idle for more than 30 years but over the weekend was to become part of the revival of the centuries old corn-milling industry. Owner of the historic corn mill, George Leatt, urban councillor, and ‘well known’ dog judge opened the part of the mill to the public and put into operation what he believed to be the first working museum of its kind.

Visitors were invited in to see the results of the previous four years of renovations.

It was planned that ultimately, another waterwheel, dating back 400 years, would be reconstructed and reinstated in the mill, and as work progressed, the mill, with its treasure trove of curios and bygones associated with the milling industry would also be put on view.

Mr Leatt had acquired the mill four years earlier as part of a scheme to continue his family partnership. The idea of the museum had started when the family had come across some items of machinery that had not been scrapped. It was an ambitious project, the building was almost derelict and subject to vandalism.

IT was also 50 years ago when Skipton’s effort in the Yorkshire and Humberside Clean Up campaign received morale boosting public support. An almost capacity audience at Skipton Town Hall

SPEAKING to party workers at Churchill House, Skipton, Mr Burnaby Drayson, Conservative MP for the Skipton division since 1945, and who was once again adopted by his party, declared that the Conservatives had been pressing for a General Election for months. ‘The country could not afford to have a Labour government one day longer’, he said. A Gallup poll had suggested a Labour win, but that galloping price rises could be the main cause of their defeat. Mr Drayson said the Conservatives would reduce taxes, but that it was necessary to dispel the extraordinary idea that they could only reduce one tax by increasing or substituting another. The Conservatives would ‘reduce all taxes’ he said, they had done it before, and they would do it again. When the date of the general election had been announced, Mr Drayson was in a 46ft ketch with friends sailing across the Bay of Biscay. They had left Dartmouth with the intention of sailing non stop to Gibraltar and were just approaching Cape Finisterre when they heard the announcement on the radio. Mr Drayson was put ashore at Oporto, Portugal, and flew back from Lisbon to be in Westminster in time to hear Edward Heath open the Conservative campaign. Mr Drayson had a similar experience in 1959 when he was fishing with his then agent on the borders of Austria.