Pip’s Patch – an Update

Above: Visitors bathing in the River Ure at Aysgarth Falls. Upstream, just a few metres away, is the outlet pipe from the small sewerage works which serves nearby properties including Aysgarth Falls Hotel. 

There was a ‘Wow factor’ just before the meeting at Leyburn Methodist Church Hall on Tuesday April 30  as more and more people came in and more and more chairs had to be found. Some estimated there were between 100 to 120 people – and almost all signed to say they wanted to be further involved.

It certainly showed how very important the River Ure and its tributaries are to many people.

Alastair Dinsdale, the chairman of the Association of Rural Communities, has enjoyed the river since he was a young child and works hard to ensure that his dairy farm does not have a negative impact upon it.  So it was not surprising that he attended the October 2023 meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee to ask its members to protect the river. But that committee  gave approval even though Alastair told them that untreated sewage was already being discharged into the River Ure from the treatment plant between the middle and lower Falls.

One committee member, North Yorkshire councillor Simon Myers, pointed out that a polluted river was unlikely to attract visitors to Aysgarth – even if those lodges were available at the hotel. The majority, however, voted for what they were told would be a business gain for the area. And we thought a National Park Authority should protect the environment!

For a fuller report, the objections made by Aysgarth and District Parish Council, and Alastair Dinsdale’s statement  click here.

Concerts at Aysgarth church

There have been some amazingly wonderful concerts at St Andrew’s during 2023 thanks to the Swaledale Festival and to the Wensleydale Concert Series (WCS). There was breathtakingly exquisite and poetic oboe playing by Nicholas Daniel at the final concert of the WCS 2023 series on September 16 beautifully accompanied on the piano by Huw Watkins. It is an honour to have so many world-class musicians performing at the church.

The concerts at St Andrew’s begin again with the Jervaulx Singers for the Wensleydale Concert Series on May 11 and the Swaledale Festival’s first concert there on May 26.

Stories from the past:

One of my most interesting  jobs each year is to edit Now Then,  the annual magazine of the Friends of  the Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes.

Last year I was particularly fascinated by the memoir of Doug Grainger, the Hawes bootmaker who, when 20 years old, was an RAF balloon operator over the front lines during World War I.  This year there are articles about some of the doctors who served the communities in and around Hawes in Wensleydale.

I’ve been collecting stories from the past from the Hawes Parish Magazines of 1896 (Street Criers of London) and also from The Church Monthly dating back to 1892 owned by St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, as well as those from the Heritage Event held at that church in 2009. The stories include these from 1894:  how to care for horses and a ride on a railway engine; how lighthouses were powered with paraffin lanterns and  using steamer horse-drawn fire engines. When rushing to a fire these days those on board the fire engine no longer have to yell ‘Fire! Fire!’ as they did in the 1890s. Nor do they have to harness horses before they could head out to a fire.

From the Heritage Event there is  A Mothering Sunday story about a man who I believe remembered his mother in a most unusual way at Aysgarth church; and the Doctor’s Window.

From The Church Monthly is  Children’s Playtime in early 1890s and the first two of the Rev Wood’s articles covering his natural history rambles in January and March 1892  plus  some local information about Aysgarth parish at that time. The Rev Wood’s nature rambles are included in Nightingale Duet.

And there is the story about the Telegraph Messenger boys of the 1890s. In that article it was stated: ‘If on any given day the electric telegraph suddenly came to an end, business would speedily become disorganised.’ The delivery of those messages depended upon boys aged 13 to 16 working nine hour days!

Visit  Penhill Benefice website for details of services at in mid Wensleydale.

Personal memories:

There have been some special moments recently – such as meeting with my friend, Carolyn Murray, and hearing all about her work with Immanuel Kindergarten in Yei. In October 2021 she went to Windsor Castle to be presented with the MBE by the Princess Royal.

Fundraising is ongoing for the Kennel Field south of Thornton Rust which was such a special place for my late husband, David Pointon.

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