IT seems the picture of a heron eating a mole, near Hubberholme, sent in to us by reader, Keith Jeddere-Fisher a few weeks ago, has been causing something of a stir in the farming community.

Skipton councillor Robert Heseltine, when he is not busy on council business, catches moles for farmers in exchange for a donation to charity. Robert tells me he could not believe his eyes when he saw the picture, being of the firm belief moles had no predators, apart from people like himself, of course.

Robert tells me when he was a child, moles were kept under control by farmers, landowners and land managers. He recalls one such person, known as ‘Moledy Bill’.

He tells me the ‘mole heaps’ - the soil thrown up by the animals would play havoc with the old style farm machinery in meadows, damaging the cutter knives. Nowadays, silage machines gobble up the soil together with the grass, and with all the nasty listeria bug in the soil, which cause cattle, when fed the silage, to abort.

A farmer friend I bumped into recently started on the subject of moles and how there were none on his particular farm, but that as each decade went past, they got closer to his land.

He wondered therefore whether mole eating herons could be attracted to set up home on his farm.

I DIDN’T expect to see stalactites in the Hoffman Kiln at Langcliffe, pictured bottom, but there they were. Not quite as magnificent as those in Ingleborough Cave, but stalactites all the same.

The kiln, at the now defunct Craven Lime Works, near Langcliffe, and next to the Settle-Carlisle Railway, is, says the national park, one of the best examples of its kind in the country.

Commissioned by the Craven Lime Company and built in 1837 the Hoffmann Kiln was used for the industrial scale production of lime extracted from limestone taken from the adjacent quarry at Langcliffe Scar.

Using a process devised and patented by the German inventor Friedrich Hoffman the kiln ran on a continuous batch production process, and was situated alongside the Settle Carlisle Railway which provided a means of transporting the finished product to market.

In 1939 the kiln was closed down, and despite the chimney having collapsed the day before its scheduled demolition in 1951 the remainder of the building remains intact - one of the principal heritage related attractions at the Craven Lime Works, which is now a designated conservation area.

Just recently, Craven District Council received planning permission, from the national park, which is the planning authority in this part of the Dales, to create a ‘rural enterprise centre’ close to the kiln, using old, redundant buildings.

The scheme, which has received local growth funding, will, says the council and its development partner, include the continued conservation of the kiln, which is indeed, a great historical gem. Local conservationists will

ANIMAL charity Yorkshire Cat Rescue is appealing for ‘heroes’.

The charity, which has a shop in Craven Court, Skipton, and is operating under strict social distancing rules - do check its website for up to date information -saves the lives of abandoned and unwanted kittens and cats in Craven and beyond.

It, like all charities, has suffered a drop in donations since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and so is appealing to people to be ‘heroes’ and make monthly donations via its website.

The charity recently took in these kittens, pictured top right, who had been left on a doorstep, malnourished and covered in fleas. They are now recovering well in a foster home.

Hayley Foster, communications officer for the charity, said: “Regular monthly donations significantly help the charity to plan ahead and know what resources we will have available in the future. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount to make a big impact either. By making a regular donation, however small, you will be making a real difference to the cats and kittens who still desperately need our help.”

To become a hero head over to the charity’s s website: . Everyone who signs up, says Hayley, will receive a warm welcome and regular updates to let them know what the charity is up to.

OUT on one of my long walks recently, I had climbed out of Earby, along the road, and was heading towards Lothersdale and eventually Pinhaw, when jumping down from a wall stile onto a footpath crossing a field, one of my legs disappeared down a deep drain (pictured).

The drain was entirely hidden by undergrowth and ridiculously close to the stile. It was covered by a metal grill, but one of my legs went right through it, right into the nasty smelling liquid in the drain; fortunately, it was just the one leg, and I managed to scramble out, with just some grazes, nettle stings, and a couple of days later, a painful back; not as young as I used to be. I of course spent a while clearing the area around the drain, and would have put up a warning note for other walkers, had I got a bit of paper and pen. I spent the following ten miles or so gingerly negotiating all overgrown patches of land - can’t be too careful it seems.

100 YEARS ago, at the end of September, 1920, the Craven Herald reported on how ‘heavy penalties’ had been imposed on an Ingleton pub landlord, and his unfortunate daughter, for supplying and serving ‘intoxicating drink’ during prohibited hours.

Albert Yates, landlord of the Ingleton Hotel, and his daughter, Phyllis, were summoned to appear before the police court along with the 13 men who had been on a motor coach (char-a-banc) excursion the Dales from East Lancashire.

Police Sergeant Tustin told the court how he had visited the hotel at 11.35am on a Sunday to find that the front door was open and an electric light was ‘burning at the bar’. He described seeing Phyllis apparently pouring what he believed to be liquor out of a bottle.

On seeing him she rushed out of the room, leaving behind her 17 men. 13 of the men, said PS Tustin, had before them beer bottles and tumblers of whisky, while three had cups of tea.

Phyllis, it was said explained that the party had travelled 40 miles in an open-top char-a-banc, were very thirsty and had begged her for a drink- she had complied, her father had been upstairs, in bed at the time.

PS Tustin described how when he entered the snug, there had been a scuffle. Some of the men had got up, some put their beer bottles under chairs, and others put their whisky glasses in their pockets.

The party, said the offier, treated the affair as a huge joke and admitted it was a ‘fair catch’.

For the defence, Mr Rowlands submitted it was the party who were to blame and not the landlord who happened to be in bed at the time. It was the party’s annual picnic and they left home on a cold morning in an open motor coach. Some of the passengers were aged and some were starved after their 40 mile run from East Lancashire. These begged for whisky and were eventually supplied.

Everyone pleaded guilty. Landlord Yates was fined £20 pounds and costs, - about £900 in today’s money, his daughter £5 (£224) and each of the other defendants, £3 (£134) - heavy penalties indeed.