ANYONE out walking in the country will not have failed to notice it is indeed ‘tupping time’. Tups are out in the fields, busily tupping - or mating - with the ewes, and leaving a variety of colours on their rumps.

It’s a simple but ingenious way of letting the farmer know when the ewe has been tupped, and when the lambs should be born.

Raddle, I am told, is a coloured powder which is mixed with oil and is spread onto the front of the tup, so when he climbs onto the ewe, he leaves some of the colour behind.

A harness can also be used with an attached coloured crayon, again at the front of the tup, and which is changed every few days.

So, there you have it, let’s get ready to raddle.

I DID think once my faithful hound became elderly and no longer up for some of my longer walks, I would no longer be of interest to curious cattle, how wrong I could be.

In my experience, it’s the young bullocks that are still the most curious, with or without a dog - I’ll divert miles rather than walk through a field with cows and calves, I really don’t want to upset a protective mother.

Generally, my habit of walking quietly and quickly through a field of bullocks, while giving them some space, usually works. But not always, they are, I reckon like mischievous teenagers. One day they will ignore you, the next, they’ll gallop from the furthest corner of a field to see if you can make it to the stile before them.

It takes a lot of guts to remain calm when faced with a herd of fast moving, bucking youngsters, which is why on more than one occasion this year I’ve ended up with ripped clothes after clambering over barbed wire fences,and ended up walking miles out of my way, accompanied by bucking animals on the other side of the fence.

Being chased, or herded, by a sheep dog is however, something new for me.

This particular border collie came up to me, it was on its own, and having said hello, swung round behind me and started nipping the backs of my legs, hurrying me up along the lane.

It was a bit painful after a while, and it would not respond to any of the usual commands, perhaps it was my accent.

Only when I picked up a stick and waved that at it did it stop, crouch down and eye me warily. Even then every time I turned my back on it, it set off in pursuit again. It did eventually lose interest in me, after much shouting, and waving of stick, but no wonder the sheep keep out of their way, surprisingly sharp and nippy teeth.

It’s owner, when I tracked him down, to tell him his dog was last seen a mile off, was horrified when I told him how it had attempted to herd me. The dog, who had clearly been following me at a respectful distance then came into view. ‘Perhaps he needs neutering’ said its owner, darkly.

A HUNDRED years ago, in October, 1920, the Craven Herald was full of stories of motor coaches - chars-a-banc - and the unruly people who used them.

The effect on the countryside of such motor coach trips to the Dales was discussed at a conference of the Yorkshire County Union of the British Temperance Association in Ilkley.

A Mrs Thistlethwaite put forward the motion to send a resolution to the central organisation that the attention of Parliament be called on the excessive drinking indulged by motor coach parties and that laws be brought in to regulate the practice.

On the suggestion of a Mrs Shaw, it was also agreed to ask that the law making it a criminal offence for drivers of trains to drink alcohol while on duty, to be extended to drivers of motor coaches.Mrs Thistlethwaite described how motor coaches were taking people out to the country to public houses that were not able to cope. And, more than that, they often took drink with them.

A Mrs Hopwood, of Skipton, said how in Skipton such vehicles were often seen and many of them. They did not wish to interfere with people’s pleasure, for it was recognised there were thousands who could not see the area’s beauty spots except by the use of motor coaches. But, people in Skipton did not want to see so many in their streets. She went on to say how sometimes it was a ‘disgrace’ to walk down the High Street and witness ‘hundreds’ of people not able to get into their vehicles, for being worse the wear for drink. On one recent Saturday evening, Mrs Hopwood had seen about 50 people - some of who were over 20 years old - coming down the steps of two public houses. The boys were holding up the girls, and the girls were holding up the boys. They all, she added, had to be helped into the waiting vehicles.

If temptation was to be put into the way of young people every time they went out, it was a terrible thing, she said.

Continuing, she said she had also recently visited Grassington and Kettlewell. At one public house, there were about 50 women on an outing from Lancashire.

‘Is it a mother’s meeting?’ she asked the driver, who replied ‘no, its a public house trip. These women came out with £6 each, and they’ll go back with nothing. I never saw such pigs in my life’.

Mrs Hopwood raged: “When we see people like this in our beautiful country districts just making pigs of themselves, it makes us feel we should do all we can to restrict the drink.”

In a leader however, the Craven Herald accused the woman of exaggeration over the numbers of. drunken people in the High Street.

Obviously, said the editor, if people were unable to take their seats in a motor coach, they were guilty of breaking the law

And the police courts would be full of people, either that or the police weren’t doing their job properly and everyone knew that wasn’t the case.

ON the subject of motor coaches, and chars-a-banc, a book has just been published about life on a Malhamdale farm in the days before vehicles.

Reminiscences of Mary Chester is based on the journal of a farmer’s daughter who lived at Low Trenhouse Farm 1,300 feet above sea level, high on Malham Moor.

Mary tells how life was harsh especially in winter, but full of wonderful events and colourful characters in a stunningly beautiful landscape.

It is a fascinating record of life in Malhamdale over 100 years ago. The project was masterminded by Grassington resident, Brontë Bedford Payne, Mary Chester’s niece, who was actively involved in local social history in the Dales, and who died in 2017.

It has now been completed and lavishly illustrated by Brontë’s cousins Ruth and Peter Kerr. Copies are available to purchase at the Stripey Badger bookshop in Grassington, and at the Museum of North Craven Life, in The Folly, at Settle.

JULIE and Martin Carrick, who live near Settle, have followed up their book of last year, ‘Losing It, It’s not what you eat, it’s what you don’t eat that matters’ with a new book, explaining how they have managed to maintain their amazing weight loss - 12 stones between them - and continued with their new healthy lifestyles.

‘Lost it and Loving it’ and due to be released on Friday, November 6 continues their story and contains many of the recipes they have devised themselves.

They have released the book just in time for Christmas and the new year;signed copies can be bought for £15, plus postage and packing directly from Julie and Martin by email: or from Amazon. They can also be found on social media.