THE Yorkshire Dales means different things to different people. For some, it’s the hills and the valleys. For others, it’s the pubs and the beer. For Hilary Fenten, it’s the people that count, writes John Cuthbert.

AT Capturing the Past, we record the history of the Yorkshire Dales through photographs, old documents, wills, parish records, deeds and indentures and the spoken memories of those privileged to have lived and worked in these upland communities. We were delighted when Hilary Fenten decided to donate part of her photographic collection so that we could share it with everyone.

Hilary has lived in the Yorkshire Dales for over 30 years and has captured images of Ingleborough life throughout that time. In 2019, she undertook a project, funded by Stories in Stone, where she met and photographed local people involved in a variety of jobs, trades and events in the area. This collection of images became ‘A Portrait of Ingleborough’.

For some, ‘history’ is something that happened hundreds of years ago. Let’s compare some of Hilary’s photos of 2019 with Ingleborough life long ago and we’ll see how much things have changed over the last couple of hundred years.

Farming has remained a constant part of life in the Dales: The Metcalfe brothers stonewalling, Upper Ribblesdale. “There are not many photos of the two dedicated farmers, Brian and Michael, from near Sherwood Brow. Sad to say, that Michael had died, leaving his brother Brian to tend the farm on his own. The reason this wall needs rebuilding was that one motorbike rider speeding through the Dales crashed his bike into the wall. He was badly injured but survived. Many do not.”

The making of bread is hardly new: Courtyard Dairy near Austwick. “At the Courtyard Dairy, Crows Nest Barn near Austwick, Kathy and Andy Swinscoe provide a wonderful venue for ageing and selling cheeses. With great enthusiasm these specialist cheese mongers serve local, tourists and the finest restaurants in the north of England. There is also a museum telling the history and story of farmhouse cheese.”

Similarly, cheesemaking is a traditional occupation: Daniel Nemeth, Seasons Bakery, Ingleton. “For visitors and local people alike, finding a first-class sour-dough bakery in Ingleton seems to be a surprise. Yet here in the old school buildings, Daniel and his team bake a range of artisan breads, cakes and other tasty products. They have been awarded prestigious prizes, an amazing achievement for a small business in such a remote area. Every lunchtime many local workers come to the bakery for their lunches.”

Brewing beer is timeless: Ian Simkins, Settle Brewery. “The increase in the number of micro-breweries in this area has meant that Settle and its surroundings can count on some brilliant beers. One such brewery is right in Settle where Ian produces excellent beer.”

Although caving as a sport may have started in the 19th Century, women cavers are a more recent addition to activities in the Dales: Women cavers from the Morley Pothole Club.

“The area around Ingleborough is a mecca for cavers, a sport which can be quite dangerous. With ever more women turning to it now, it is no longer the preserve of men. This group of women cavers is on its way to the Alum Pot cave system and one can tell how much they are looking forward to it.”

Quarrying has taken place on Ingleborough for thousands of years. The difference we see now is in the scale of operation and the size of machinery being used: Chris Stephenson working at Ingleton Quarry.

“Quarrying in the Dales has a long tradition. Ingleton Quarry is located just to the north of the village of Ingleton and lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The quarry, which is only allowed to expand downwards, is dominated by a deep working void with small areas of fringing broadleaved woodland, planted trees and shrubs. The vehicles and diggers in the quarry are massive but look small amongst the piles of rock that are being quarried. The photo shows Chris Stephenson in one of the big quarry trucks.”

All these photos, and more, can be found at Once you’ve arrived at the archives, Hilary’s photographic portrait can be found by clicking on ‘View the catalogue’ and scrolling down to the ‘Hilary Fenten Collection’.

This excellent glimpse into our history is one of many within the ‘Capturing the Past’ project. We collect historical images, documents and words from those who lived or are living in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Capturing the Past is managed by Friends of the Dales and was developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, led by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

If you’d like to have a conversation about contributing something, send John Cuthbert an email: