Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Books, films & other media interest

The Yorkshire Dales, particularly Swaledale, is attracting a lot of media interest at the moment.   Only last night our very own local lass, Helen Guy, was on the BBC's Inside Out programme talking about lead mining in Swaledale.  She is incredibly knowledgeable about mining practices in the upper dale and leads guided walks on the subject.  To find out more visit http://keld.org.uk/events/

Books and magazine articles about Swaledale are nothing new.  Ella Pontfract & Marie Hartley's book 'Swaledale' first published in 1934 has become something of a reference manual as far as how people in Swaledale lived, worked and played before the outbreak of WW2.

At that time, locals from Keld were also in demand for radio broadcasts. Joan Moody (nee Mee) mentions in her memoir, an occasion in April 1939, when her mother Mrs Jeannie Mee, Mr James Rukin, Mr Waggett, a Gunnerside gamekeeper (and possibly others) travelled to Leeds to make a BBC radio programme about life in Swaledale. 

 Often people who live in the dale or have a strong association with it are inspired to write about their experiences or to weave works of fiction around familiar places and events. 

Neil Hanson's Inn at the Top and its sequel Pigs Might Fly are hilarious, heart warming, sometimes toe curling accounts of his time as manager (1978-79) and then his return as owner in March 1984 of the highest pub in Great Britain.  I will refrain from naming this very famous establishment short of saying, as the crow flies, it is our local.

The Hefted Farmer by Susan Haywood is about the four farming families at the head of Swaledale; Hoggarth, Pry House Farm, Stonehouse and Ravenseat Farm and how they survived the 2001 Foot & Mouth epidemic.

    The dales and their residents have also attracted the attention of several television companies.  The cameras followed Ravenseat farmers, Clive and Amanda Owen (The Yorkshire Shepherdess) and their family throughout the seasons and Our Yorkshire Farm on Channel 5 was very well received.  As previously mentioned  Helen Guy has been filmed by the BBC and we saw a short clip last night on Inside Out. The main programme, Paul Rose in the Dales, will show more of Helen talking about Swaledale's lead mining heritage and Chris talking about our traditional hay meadows and hay making in the dale (to be aired late spring 2019).

And finally there has been two excellent magazine articles recently;  Muker farmer, William Raw is featured in December's issue of Landscape magazine describing how he is one of the last farmers to use his cow houses as they were originally intended namely to house cows during winter and to store hay, made in summer, from the meadow fields in which the cowus stands.  James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life, is in March's edition of Country Living magazine talking about the bond he has with his young sheep dog, Bess.  Before you shoot me down in flames, yes I know James farms in the Lake District and is not a Yorkshire farmer however his book The Shepherd's Life is a gutsy, honest, genuine account of what its like to live and work on a hill farm and almost mirrors exactly our life here at Pry House Farm.  Read it.     

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