JUST to prove that there is nothing new under the sun, and the same old issues just keep rumbling on, seemingly never resolved, I came across in a 50 year old Craven Herald, of January, 14, 1972, an article about how to cope with the rising number of schoolchildren being taken on trips to the Dales.

Under the title ‘school parties’ the writer of the Craven Man’s Diary at the time took something of a firm stand on schools visiting the Dales when they were not properly prepared for what the weather might throw at them - or the difficulty of some of the routes.

These days though, we don’t hear of school parties getting into difficulties, it is more likely to be ill-prepared adults heading to the Yorkshire Three Peaks without a map, proper walking boots, or sufficient warm clothing, not to mention heading off far too late and ending up at the top of Ingleborough in the dark.

Back to the 1970s, and in 1971 the information officer of the national park had carried out a survey of visitors during the summer.

He was particularly interested in the number of school parties visiting the ever popular honey pot, Malham.

The officer found that more than 2,920 pupils came to Malham in 1971 than they had in 1969 - an increase of 23 per cent.

When the car park at Malham, said the Herald, was built, some thought it too large for the village - but in 1971 there had been a more than 20 per cent increase in the number of coaches using the car park, many of which were there to bring schoolchildren.

The park officer also reported an impressive increase in day trippers, but they could not be counted, because the had not used the car park.

The increase in young visitors was a good thing, said the Herald. But not all behaved well.

Taking lessons into the countryside was now an acceptable thing, said the paper, and there was something to be said for geology lessons to be held in the limestone country of Craven.

The question, said the paper, was what preparation was being made for such visits.

Preparation did not simply mean a teacher telling the children about the countryside, it must also be undertaken by the teachers themselves and to a considerably higher standard.

Children would then be well led, and if should a crisis occur - such as the onset of mist or snow while crossing the hills, a teacher would be equal to it and could ensure the children return home safely.

Teachers must be able to demonstrate they were capable of leading young people. There should be at least a verbal examination in countryside appreciation, and survival techniques and also the country code.

It was the least that could be expected, said the Diary writer, who pointed out the very many benefits of young people getting out and about into the countryside, and could well be even more valuable, seeing as the age limit for children to be allowed to leave school was to go up to 16.

IN the same edition of the paper, readers were urged to ‘throw away their girdle, clip on muscles or padded suits, because Skipton now had a ‘sauna bath and slimming salon’.

Not sure what ‘clip-on muscles’ were, but the new salon had opened in Hallam’s Yard, off Sheep Street, Skipton, and it was the brainchild of Fred Bullough of Fred Bullough Cash Betting Ltd.

The salon offered courses for men and women in slimming, muscle toning, spot reduction and ‘general health conditioning’

The Herald commented Mr Bullough’s enterprise looked to be a safe bet because he had employed the services of two expert masseurs, one of whom had come third in the previous year’s Mr Universe contest.

It continued that the ‘ladies’ would however be disappointed, Tony Emmett, who ran a health club in Ilkley, would be helping only the men reach top condition while the ladies would be under the care of Miss Pearl Redman, a ‘fully trained and qualified masseuse’ who had previously worked in South Africa and Canada.

Much of what went on at the salon appeared to be ‘genuine’ Swedish massage in peaceful and contemplative surroundings, but there was also a genuine Finnish sauna bath made from timber and was guaranteed to help people shed unwanted pounds. There was also a sun room and a Slendertone slimming machine.

FOR anyone interested, my 2,000 miles in 2022 challenge is progressing well, despite extremely wet weather and the lighter evenings coming all so very slowly. I need to do about 40 miles per week to be on the safe side.

At the time of writing, on January 12, I had completed 50 miles of the 2,000, a bit on the low side, but it has been very boggy underfoot and a couple of days I’ve not been able to get out at all. I have to have two pairs of boots, one pair drying out, the other in use. I’m also only counting outside walks, I reckon endlessly walking up and down the stairs is just not fair.

Do follow my progress on Twitter @ltcravenherald.