IGNORING the weather forecast that predicted pretty much solid rain all day - what do they know? - I set off once again on the search for the most remote spot, that is the furthest distance point from a road, in England. And I did find it, on Rigg’s Moor, some six miles or so, up-hill from Conistone.

It’s not much to be honest, a lot of moor, and very boggy, and very little shelter. As is always the case with walking in the fells it seems, one of the just three other people I saw in the 12 miles walk, was 83 year old Henry Mason, who emerged out of rainy mist in rain coat and shorts.

Henry, former chairman of Craven Ramblers, was on a ‘short’ eight mile walk over from Yarnbury, near Grassington. Henry, who takes map reading courses at Steeton, where he lives, raised his eyebrows at learning I’d left my map and compass at home and was relying instead on my newly acquired Ordnance Survey ‘app’ - a birthday present from my brother.

Henry was absolutely right to look doubtful; not only was there absolutely no reception at England’s most remote spot, it was pouring with rain and I couldn’t risk getting my phone wet. Did that back in the winter and my phone spent a week getting over the trauma in a bag of rice.

I can however report, that the best way to reach the patch of moorland, is to take the footpath from Conistone, pass the dib and join the bridlepath to Sandy Gate and Middlesmoor. You will pass Mossdale Scar and shortly afterwards, take the footbridge over to the ‘shooting box’ (building) and pick up the bridlepath, which goes up to a ridge, to a stile - over that and you’re on Riggs Moor.

On my return back into lovely Conistone, soaking wet, but having successfully tested my waterproofs, I was met by the sight of a newly married couple gingerly making their way through the mud next to the River Wharfe for a wedding video.

They smiled through gritted teeth as the bride sank into the mud in her rather lovely high heels, and while the groom muttered something about how it had rained all day.

ON the subject of walking; my usual evening, after work, walk includes about a mile of country road, which also happens to be a cycle way, and which has recently been resurfaced. The road is a locals route, from West Marton to Gargrave, and now, with all the potholes filled in, is wonderfully smooth, and as such, much enjoyed by those motorists who previously slowed down because of concerns about their wheel bearings, tyres, or whatever. I can’t speak for the cyclists, but its definitely made it more interesting for walkers, one has to keep jumping into the hedge to get out of the way of speeding cars.

It reminded me of a conversation I had some years back with a senior highways officer, in the days when local authority officers chatted to local reporters. He told me the best way to slow traffic down was to leave the potholes unfilled; that and to let people park where they wanted on residential roads, to create a ‘slalom effect’. That, I believe, was in the days before owners of vehicles with broken wheels, etc, caused by driving into potholes started suing local highways authorities.

GARGRAVE show is very sadly one of the events that will not take place this year, it having fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Its chairman, Alistair Lawn, in a message on the show’s website says: “It is with deep regret that the committee has taken the decision to cancel both the show and sheep dog trials for 2021.

“We would like to extend our sincere apologies to all those who were hoping to attend or exhibit at the show. It was not a decision that was taken lightly and we are sorry for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.”

We can but hope that it will return next year. Meanwhile, a look back to the show 50 years ago, ‘in 1971, and it was all heavy rain and gales.

The Craven Herald reported that the show was hit by the weather, and with less than half the people of the year before turning up.

“Heavy squalls knocked the wind out of the 68th annual event,” reported the paper, adding that ‘torrential rain in the morning, and a stiff, cold breeze after lunch,’ was undoubtedly responsible for the gate receipts being ‘cut by half’.

Despite the weather, competition in the cattle classes was very keen, with entries higher than ever. Two brothers in law picked up six of the eight trophies in the livestock sections - Stephen Thompson, of Gargrave, and Kenneth Stapleton of Skipton. Mr Thompson had bought the winner of the cattle section from Gisburn Auction Mart just two days before the show.

THERE was a better outcome for Gargrave Show, 75 years ago, in 1946 however, when the Herald reported a welcome return for the show which had been suspended since the out break of the Second World War in 1939, the 42nd event took place in August, 1939, weeks before war broke out.

After a week of almost continuous rain, there was brilliant sunshine for the show, held at Mill Field. A ‘capital programme’ and healthy entries into all classes ensured a promising future for the show, said the Herald. A display of tractors ‘created much interest’ while livestock classes included cattle, sheep, and poultry. There was also horticulture, horse races and field and track events.

IN the same issue of the Craven Herald, 50 years ago, it was reported that the then owner of Hellifield Peel, a Mr R Hargreaves, of Raikes Road, Skipton was wanting to demolish the tower.

Back then, the tower was just a ruin, and had not undergone the restoration by Karen and Francis Shaw that led it to become a star of televisions’s Grand Designs.

Mr Hargreaves had applied to the then West Riding County Council to have it demolished. It was at the time, said the Herald, without a roof, its inside had ‘crumbled away’, shrubs grew from the battlements, and worst of all, it ‘posed a risk to children’.

Public notices had appeared in the press to see if there were any objections to it being removed. The tower, reported the Herald, was originally built to protect locals from the invading Scots and was believed to have been occupied as late on as the Second World War, when troops had been billeted there.

It was on the Hellifield Peel estate which Mr Hargreaves had bought in 1965 for ‘sporting purposes’.

The Skipton area planning officer said that the tower should have been removed from the list of historical monuments because of its dilapidated state, but that historically, it was ‘quite interesting’ because it was ‘one of the last remaining towers in the country’.

A LITTLE further back into the archives of the Craven Herald, in August, 1929, the then vicar of Sutton had a plan to establish a cinema in the village - and he insisted the films would not be of the ‘goody-goody type’.

The Rev R H Butler planned to open a cinema in the village’s St Thomas’s Hall, because he felt something of the kind was needed. Not everyone wanted to go to dances or concerts, he pointed out, nor did everyone want to stay by the fireside every evening. And so, it was, a cinema was the answer, as an alternative to having to travel into Keighley, or wandering aimlessly about the streets.

The plan was to show ‘good’ films, if they could be afforded, and neither ‘goody-goody’ or ‘pink sensation’, neither high adventure nor gripping love story. The aim would be to ‘interest, amuse and gratify’