MANY of us will have waited patiently for the railway crossing gates to be lifted at Cononley before then waiting again, on our way back - several minutes can be spent in the queue of traffic - this it seems, however, is far from a new issue, and in fact was being discussed almost 100 years ago by angry parish councillors.

Back in July, 1929, at a meeting of the then Skipton Rural District Council, delay at the crossing, caused by the gates being closed to road traffic was discussed - at that time, trains had the priority and road traffic, including horses, were only allowed to cross at certain times of the day. Cononley Parish Council had written to both the LMS rail company, and the Ministry of Transport.

The meeting was told that the ministry had issued an instruction to the railmen to deal with the issue of delays at the crossing.

The company’s letter to the ministry explained that the gates were controlled by gate stops worked from the adjacent signal box as well as ‘wicket gates’ at each side. A gatekeeper, working on the instructions of the signalman, was employed to open and close the gates for a portion of the day, and at other times of the day, the gates were worked by the station staff, or the signalman.

Following a complaint from the parish council, train drivers were told to stop the engine if they were able as far as possible away from the level crossing - so it could be used by traffic while the train was in the station.

And so a traffic census was taken of the amount of road traffic using the crossing. On one 24 hour period, on the last day in April, 1929, 32 vehicles and horses were delayed out of the 200 using the crossing, with the greatest delay being seven minutes. A week later, 37 vehicles and horses had to wait out of a total of 246, and the longest delay was six minutes.

The ministry letter to the council expressed satisfaction with the new arrangements, it said: “On the whole, the arrangements at the crossing are satisfactory, and the recent instruction to train men should tend to further reduce any cause for complaint.”

But, the council chairman was far from happy and suggested that the crossing at Cononley ought to adopt the same practice as at Kildwick, where the gates were open to road traffic and only closed when a train was coming.

In its leader column, the Craven Herald agreed the arrangement was far from satisfactory and much like people today, was suspicious of the traffic census.

A ‘WALL of flowers’ is taking shape in Cowling as a way of celebrating the end of the coronavirus lockdown.

The idea of new parish councillor, Allan Friswell, the aim is to cover a wall of a former funeral parlour next to the Bay Horse pub with hanging baskets. It will literally be a ‘floral exhibition of village optimism’ says Allan, who hopes there will be enough enthusiasm to make it an annual event.

Allan tells me the owner of the building has given his permission, and Dan at the Bay Horse has offered use of his outside water tap for all the watering - assuming we will at some time get some hot and dry weather.

What a lovely idea.

A COUPLE of weeks ago, we talked about lockdown projects in the Diary and invited readers to share their own. Cath Cooney tells me she has been knitting baby blankets for premature babies on the Special Care Baby Unit at Airedale Hospital, Steeton, and has so far completed more than 20.

“My friend Joanne Turner is a staff nurse on the unit and takes them in for me. She says the mums are really pleased with them,” she says.

The blankets(pictured) are indeed lovely, well done Cath. Share your lockdown project with us at

IT’S not everyday you come across a ‘don’t feed the reindeer’ sign; but there is one (pictured) on the Ribble Way near Gisburn - and very polite it is too. I hung around a bit, keen to catch sight of Dancer and Dasher, but they must have been away for the day.

RESIDENTS of Threshfield Court Care home in Threshfield experimented putting cream before the jam, and jam before the cream, at national ‘cream tea day’ on June 28.

The national event may well have passed most people by, but not at the Barchester Healthcare home where in addition to scones, jam and cream - Cornish, clotted cream, I hope, residents and staff enjoyed a variety of herbal and classic teas. There were also cucumber sandwiches and teacakes.

Stacey Nicholson, senior general manager at the home said: “Residents really enjoyed the sweets and savouries for national cream tea day, where we learnt the history of the British tradition and participated in a few traditions of our own.”

And resident, John, added: “We’ve all had so much fun today and the cream tea was absolutely delicious! It is so nice to be able to have visitors and entertainers, it really does feel like we’re getting back to normal.”

As for the great scone debate - it is of course, jam first before the cream.

IF you ever considered trying out a clothes-free lifestyle - there is the perfect opportunity to try it out at an open day at a camping and caravan club on the outskirts of Harrogate.

The Valley Sun Club, along the Nidd Gorge, is opening its doors to all on Sunday July 18 for people to find our more about naturism - and give it a try.

The club’s six acre woodland site has been operated by its members since 1930. Members enjoy sunbathing on the expansive lawns, boules, miniten and a nine hole pitch and putt golf course. There is also a pool table and darts and the ever popular, karaoke.

Regular themed meals are prepared from the kitchen, and many members have a caravan on site during the summer season allowing them to stay as often as they wish at no additional charge.

The club is also open to members who may only want to camp occasionally, while non members with caravans, motor homes or tents are welcomed to stay by prior arrangement, and well behaved dogs are welcome.

Valley Sun Club member Steve Knight, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming people to our open day. We love our club and are eager to show it off.” Visitors will be able to talk to current members and are welcome to use any of the facilities whilst on site. Any open day visitors who decide to apply for membership will be able to take advantage of a half-price membership offer.”

To find out more, visit:

THERE will be an opportunity for cat lovers to get together next month - Covid restrictions allowing - and raise money for the charity, Cats Protection.

The charity is asking people to organise a get together as part of its Pawsome Afternoon Tea event which will run throughout August.

People can choose to raise money for the Cats Protection centre, or a volunteer-run branch of their choice.

Abi Young, organiser of Cats Protection’s Pawsome Afternoon Tea, explains; “You could hold a tea party at home, a bake sale for your office, or enjoy a picnic outdoors - the choice is yours. We have some great tutorials online if you’d like to bake your own cat-shaped treats but whether you bake or buy your delicious goodies to share, every slice you sell helps give down-on-their-luck moggies a second chance.

“Each penny donated makes a big difference, for example £20 raised will feed four cats in care for 25 days, £50 will provide eight tiny kittens with milk for 14 days or £110 will pay for an x-ray for an injured cat. Our branches and centres couldn’t help unwanted cats and kittens without the kindness of our wonderful supporters baking and brewing to keep them on their paws.”

To find more information about your nearest Cats Protection branch or centre visit and to take part in this year’s Pawsome Afternoon Tea you can register your tea at and receive top-tips as well as a party pack filled with everything you need to ensure your sale is a great success.