Yorkshire Day Out

It was a fine sunny August 1st 2018 and there were no hail stones, moorland fires or natural disasters in God’s Own County! A couple of organisations in and around Skipton earned a special mention when the grandson was giving two grandparents a rostered day out.

Skipton Fire and Rescue

Just by the railway station exit opposite Herriots hotel is the ‘fire station’ or HQ for the Skipton Fire & Rescue Service. As we arrived they were holding a charity and awareness raising event highlighting dementia. The active team arrange several events including this on Yorkshire Day and are holding an other open day on Sunday 17th August 2018 between 10am-4pm.

  • ‘There will be loads of fun activities for all the family including; face painting, a bouncy castle, inflatable maze and a tombola. There will also be a range of demonstrations throughout the day. Money raised will go to The Fire Fighters Charity.’
  • On Yorkshire day we were treated to tea and treats from Betty’s in Ilkley, collected by the fire chief on his way to work. The local folks home arrived in a mini bus with a hoist for wheelchairs that amused the grandkid.
  • There were no call outs whilst we were there but records show there were two later in the day to keep the retained fighters on their toes.
  • The photo shows an aspect of ‘service’ that is easy to overlook. The damage car was one of several that were held in the fire station yard after the rescue of driver and passenger had been completed.

Summary An impressive show of community spirit well done to the team. Help them by supporting future events.

Northern Rail

This outfit have been under the media and travelers cosh for several months. Strikes over driver operated trains, overcrowding, pay disputes and new timetables have contributed to the problems. Not on Yorkshire Day!

  • The local ticket office found the cheapest way to travel to Skipton with a combination of metro card and senior rail passes. It was well worth collecting 8 tickets for the 2½ of us.
  • Whilst I was struggling with the buggy the cheerful conductor hoisted the 2½ year old up on to the train.
  • Shipley was the 4th station and first change. Down the tunnel under the Bradford line to the Skipton platform left us one minute to wait for the on time train. The conductor walking down the isle niftyly side stepped the buggy which we still hadn’t worked out how to open and close.
  • Passing through Keighley we could see the Worth Valley railway had an engine in full steam and at least one of our party regretted not disembarking for a longer look.
  • Skipton station yard car park had a wazzock parked in a way that stopped the local bus making its normal turn.
  • The return journey was assisted by a ticket collector who recommended staying on platfom 1 rather than rushing to platform 4 for the stopping train to Shipley.
  • The both trains then arrived in Shipley at the same time but we had a dash across the car park to get the Ilkley train using  the 2 lifts and running across the cobble with the kid in the buggy.

Summary Northern Rail did Yorkshire Day proud. The staff were friendly, the services ran on time and the cost for 2 pensioners and the toddler was good value.

House of Fraser

Long ago Amblers Department Store on High Street was taken over by Brown and Muff’s. They sold off to Rackhams part of House of Fraser (HoF) in the 1970’s. Now the shop is shortly to be closed as HoF are in severe financial trouble. Here are some views as to why this has happened:

  • Department stores are having a hard time and many are jaded and passed their sell by date.
  • People with time and disposable income to spend often have enough ‘stuff’. The need for departmental stores is vastly different to the 1960’s when these shops were enjoying their hey day. In the Skipton store there is no ‘experience’ or sense of fun except watching 4X4’s fight for a space in the free HoF car park to avoid paying in the adjacent council car park.
  • Linea the House of Fraser own brand sounds more like a southern European bus network. Such own brands carry no intrinsic value.
  • The renovated cafe was light and airy with lots of tables crammed in. Shame it was only half full at the height of lunch time. That didn’t improve the service with 2 sandwiches and a kids meal taking over half an hour to arrive!

Summary Thank goodness the street market pulls visitors in to the town. If HoF is not rescued I hope good, successful new tenants for the shop are found promptly.

Yorkshire Tools of the Carriage Trade

Stables and Harness Rooms

It is hard to imagine transport in the Victorian era and prior. Journeys had to be taken on foot, horseback or coach. There were numerous types of coach, carriage, cart and waggons for 1,2 or 4 or more horses.  A brougham is a closed carriage usually driven by two horses. Landau, rig, chaise, buggy and stage coach were other types of  horse drawn transports. In addition to bits and bridles the following old items were useful for specific purposes

  • Breaking Snaffle or bit
  • Back pad used to hold the crupper
  • Light Curricle or shaft for a dog cart
  • Crupper for under the tail of a horse in harness and the breeching to go around the hind legs
  • Swingle trees – wood  links to balance the pull of a horse or horses on a carriage. Now wippletrees or wiffletress with metal linkages are used.
  • A postillion is a coachman riding on the nearside horse rather than on a box or seat.

Like many Yorkshire folk we have to make do with Shank’s Pony (use your own legs as a means of transportation).

Hackney carriages are still licensed to “ply for hire” i.e. pick up passengers on the street. The first hackney-carriage licences date from a 1662.

Picture credit carriages of English Regency.

Other information from Shibden Hall Folk Museum.





Girls not on a Train


















The Liverpool to Scarborough train has just dropped me at Seamer the penultimate station before the terminus – If it doesn’t stop in Scarborough then it will end up in the briny. Later in the day I return via Filey and waited an hour for a return train through York and Leeds.

Teenage Behaviour or Misbehaviour

  • I was at the end of the platform taking the snaps. Four early teenage females were acting the goat and disturbing the only other two ladies in the waiting room/shelter.
  • The teenagers bragged that they had be ‘thrown out of McDonald for amongst other things sticking a chip up someones nose’.
  • At Seamer, no doubt bolstered by earlier misdemeanor, whilst waiting for the Filey/ Bridlington train they were acting in a loud, coarse and threatening manner to the consternation of the two ladies.
  • One of the ladies took them to task in a professional manner by discussing what the future consequences of acting as they did. ‘If they wanted to have good clothes, afford a car and expected a reasonable life style they needed to work’. She went further suggesting that they had little prospects of getting a job with the attitude and disrespect they showed.
  • The lady was an HR professional at a good company in York, Paragon Creative whose products for the entertainment industry should have a lot of street cred with the girls. She told them that despite wanting to recruit young people she would not employ them even if they could do the job because their conduct was wrong.
  • The other lady remained a bit shaken. She felt if she had been alone with the teenagers she would have been frightened.

I arrived too late on the tableau and would have been ineffective as a bloke arguing with four girls could create the wrong impression. Everyone including the girls were probably glad when they got on the Sheffield bound train and we were happy to wait for the York- Liverpool bound connection.


7 Man Made Wonders of Yorkshire – Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead boys (Gherkin, Wimsey, Wonky and Pickle)

Ribblehead is somewhat remote boasting only a railway station a few houses and The Station Inn. The teddybears may have a bit of a wait before they can start their picnic.
Located at the head of the River Ribble, the viaduct is firmly located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the hearts of many railway enthusiasts.

Ribblehead Viaduct and Weather

Ribblehead Viaduct Sunset
The Ribblehead Viaduct at sunset and behind it to the right Whernside one of the three peaks and the highest point in Yorkshire. It looks like it has been drizzling for a shortwhile but the puddles should dry up by September before it starts to rain.
A light dusting of snow can be expected in May and June but for real snow you need to visit in February or any month with an R in the name. Continue reading 7 Man Made Wonders of Yorkshire – Ribblehead Viaduct

20 mph Speed Zones Fast for Yorkshire

A section of Pateley Bridge is restricted to a 20mph speed zone. It would be hard to go faster in the town and why would you want too anyway?

20 mph zones are becoming increasingly popular with local residents because statistics seem to suggest 20mph zones are effective in reducing fatalaties. It also makes for a more pleasing environment with parents happier to let children play on the roads. York and Sheffield are amongst Yorkshire towns and cities that treat 20mph speed zones as the default speed limit in built-up areas.

Background to Speed Zones

Evidence suggests that if people are hit by a car at 20mph only 1 in 10 will die as a result. If the speed is 30mph it jumps to 5 in 10. At 40mph most die.

20 mph speed limits also encourage more environmentally friendly methods of transport such as cycling and walking.

20 mph speed limits are not always popular with motorists who argue it is unnecessarily strict to keep speed down to 20mph. Also, the difficulty of 20 mph speed limit zones is that most drivers ignore them anyway. To be effective 20mph speed limits need to be enforced with speed cameras or road calming methods introduced – such as narrowing roads.

Evidence on 20mph Speed Zones

• 20mph zones have made a major contribution to London’s road
safety record. In areas where zones have been introduced there has
been a 42 per cent reduction in casualties.
• The estimated benefit to London from casualty reductions in its
400 existing 20mph zones has a value of at least £20 million per
• There is some evidence to suggest 20mph limits may make a
positive contribution to encouraging walking and cycling,
improving traffic flow and reducing emissions but insufficient
research has been done on these potential wider effects.

20 mph speed limits at DFT

Campaigner Myths against 20 MPH Speed Zones

The safety organisations 20 is Plenty and Environmental Transport Association ask “Why we can’t” rather than explore “How we can” when it comes to 20’s Plenty. Here are some false road blocks which may be put in your way :-

Speed Bumps

You can’t put in 20 mph without physical traffic calming. That is both unpopular and expensive. No-one will want it. NOT CORRECT

Slower journeys

If you slow traffic down to 20 mph then it is obvious that journeys will take 50% longer. This will cause delays and is not acceptable. NOT CORRECT

Police won’t enforce it.

The police will not enforce 20 mph. Therefore it will be ignored by motorists. NOT CORRECT

It increases Pollution

If you put in speed bumps and drivers accelerate between them, then this constant acceleration and braking does increase fuel usage. But where 20mph limits are put in place then this encourages steadier driving using less fuel with less pollution. It also encourages people to walk or cycle and therefore reducing their car-created pollution entirely. Hence it is NOT CORRECT that 20mph limits increase pollution.

All of these are myths which can be shown to be false. Click on the buttons on the left to see why they are false and the argument against them.

Support your local campaign for 20 mph speed zones – it makes sense!

Air Ambulances of Yorkshire

Overhead Chopper at Leeds-Bradford Airport

Overhead Chopper at Leeds-Bradford Airport

‘The Leeds-Bradford airspace seemed to be full of budding pilots on the afternoon when I passed by. This helicopter was on a training session run by private aviation company Multiflight, a business which is based on the south side of the airport. They also give lessons in flying the Robin 200, Cessna 152 and Piper PA28’. Commercial businesses like this have helped develop Leeds as one of two key sites for Air Ambulances.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance Photo Shoot

Get on board to help Yorkshire Air Ambulance by supporting this motley crews fund-raising event on the 6th of May 2012. They are cycling the Leeds/Liverpool canal all 127 miles in a day to raise money . Here they are getting their photos taken with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Yorkshire Air Ambulance Landing
The North West Air Ambulance in the foreground with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance landing in the background.

As a charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance only receive help through secondment of paramedics from the NHS. To keep both of Yorkshire’s ambulances in the air they need to raise £7200 per day. This is equivalent to £2.65 million per year.
As a rapid response air emergency service the charity serves a population of approximately 5 million people across 4 million acres. The two air ambulances operate from Leeds Bradford International Airport and Bagby Airfield near Thirsk, and together both air ambulances cover the whole of the region.Donate here.

Barnsley - Good Friday
‘Good Friday, 22nd April 2011. The Blackpool helicopter and crew were called to assist a female patient who had fallen while out walking in Barnsley country park. The patient was taken to Wakefield General in 10 mins for treatment to an ankle injury. Colleagues from Yorkshire Air Ambulance and a land ambulance crew were also on scene.’

Overhead Chopper at Leeds-Bradford Airport by tj.blackwell CC BY-NC 2.0
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Photo Shoot by Simon Grubb CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Landing by North West Air Ambulance,CC BY 2.0
Barnsley – Good Friday by North West Air Ambulance, CC BY 2.0
Excitement 3 – Yorkshire Air Ambulance by aldisley CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Excitement 3 - Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Plane Crazy Kangaroos, Skuas, Sharks and Hawks in Brough

Red Arrows

Back in 1915 Robert Blackburn (RB) set up a base for the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company in Brough. Amongst the aircraft made by the company were the early Kangaroos, Sharks, Skuas and the Swift.

Aeroplanes From Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company Brough

From 1916 the military commandeered the Brough site building 2 large extra hangers. The Kangaroo was then the first pure Blackburn plane to win type approval for military planes.
In 1920 the Air Ministry asked Blackburn to work with Napier to produce a torpedo plane called the Swift.
The royal airforce reserve training school was set up in Brough for piolts of sea and land planes using Blackburn Dart, Ripon and Velos planes.
Large flying boats were also built at Blackburns including the Iris, Perth and Sydney making inaugural flights from the Humber estuary.
The Blackburn built Skua was the only naval plane for dive bombing and was the first plane to shoot down an enemy aircraft in the second World War. The Shark and the more successful Swordfish were also built around the same time.
180 Botha, 635 Fairy Baracudas, the Firebrand and the Roc naval fighter were built during 1940’s. The Sunderland flying boat was built at Blackburns Dunbarton factory.
In 1948 Blackburns was taken over or amalgamated with General Aircraft and produced the Universal fighter.
The production of the Buccaneer (bottom) dominated output at Brough during the 1960’s.

Short Sunderland

Modern Brough

In 1960-65 Blackburns became Hawker Siddeley, Brough, and later part of the British Aerospace Kingston-Brough Division.
Arguably one of the company’s best known aircraft is the Hawk or T45. This is the jet trainer plane seen the world over as part of The Red Arrows RAF aerobatic display team.
The origins of the Harrier vertical/short take off and landing multi-role fighter can be traced back to Blackburns in Brough. The Harrier’s vertical take off was a stunning sight. On lookers were amazed to see 6 tonnes of fixed wing jet fighter hover, and even fly backwards.
Earlier this year 2012 BAE Systems announced it would be ending manufacturing at its site in Brough. This will mean 845 employees are redundant and our aeronautical heritage will be cut short.

Blackburns last

Photograph Credits
Red Arrows by Richard Towell CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Short Sunderland by Adelaide Archivist CC BY-NC 2.0 ‘Short Sunderland Mk.1 Flying Boat L2163 DA-G of No. 210 Squadron .
Photograph published in ‘The Royal Air Force in Pictures including aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm’, prepared by Major Oliver Stewart, 1941. Page 55.’
Blackburns last by Elsie esq CC BY 2.0 ‘A Buccaneer of the RAF. These aircraft had “wing blowing” a technique to artifically increase the lift of wings by ducting air from the engines over the top surface of the wing. This resulted in very high speed capability at very low altitude. Even today few modern strike aircraft can match the Buccaneers down-low performance’.
See air-ambulances-of-yorkshire

Read about Yorkshires Air Ambulances

Jowett the Yorkshire Javelin Ahead of Time

Jowett Cars

The two seater soft top Jowett Jupiter was developed from the success of the Javelin in 1950. The streamlined shape implied speed and was a well engineered car with stronger brakes and new features. It had a steel tube frame and a drop-head coupe body of aluminium. For three successive years Jowett won the Le Mans 24 Grand Prix race 1950-1952.

ind museum Jowett van

The Bradford Van shown here in the old colours of the local paper the Telegraph and Argus (T&A). It had an engine size of 1005 cc and was first registered in 1953.

The oldest car club in the world is dedicated to Jowett vehicles they also  have a second web site. There aim is ‘To celebrate classic British cars made in Bradford from 1906 to 1954 namely- Jupiter, Javelin, Bradford, Jason, Black Prince, Curlew, Kestrel, Weasel, Flying Fox, Falcon, Long Four, Focus, Blackbird, Kingfisher, Black Prince, Wren, Grey Knight, Silverdale, Chummy, 7cwt Van, Short Two’. I like the idea of a car called a ‘Weasel’ and it reminds me of a pub with that name in Pudsey now a bomb site.

Continue reading Jowett the Yorkshire Javelin Ahead of Time

Betwixed Leeds and Shipley Along the Canal

‘Leaving Leeds and heading towards Shipley’. The first 10 miles of the Leeds-Liverpool canal hold a lot of interest for walkers, fishermen and historians. It is a good 10 mile linear walk with pubs enroute at Newley, Rodley, Baildon and Greengates.

Canal pilons

The Canal of the Roses – History

From the Leeds Liverpool Canal Society records comes this short history. Do not read it if you have a nervous disposition about Lancastrian perfidy.

‘In the middle of the 1700’s, Yorkshire was a well established woollen manufacturing area, while Lancashire’s industries were still in their infancy. Consequently it was in Yorkshire that the canal was first proposed. In the 1760’s the merchants there were keen to improve the supply of lime and limestone from the Craven district. This they used to improve the fertilisation of agricultural land and to provide a mortar which allowed them to increase the size and height of buildings used for weaving. They also hoped to expand the market for their cloth by gaining access, via Liverpool, to the growing colonial markets in Africa and America. The route they chose was up the Aire valley to Gargrave, then through Padiham, Whalley and Leyland to Liverpool. They would thus have a fairly direct route to Liverpool as well as reaching the limestone country around Craven.

Canal chimneys
‘Leeds needs to repurpose it’s Victorian buildings’ or loose them!

When the Yorkshiremen sought support in Lancashire they found that Liverpool merchants were more interested in acquiring a good supply of coal for the town from Wigan. They suggested a different route, through Wigan, Chorley, Blackburn and Burnley, joining the Yorkshiremen’s line at Foulridge. The two groups fell out over this, though they eventually agreed to a compromise. The Yorkshire line was to be followed, but there was to be a link to Wigan, with work starting at each end simultaneously.

By 1777, when the canal was open from Liverpool to Wigan and from Leeds to Gargrave, the company ran out of money. Construction ceased until 1790 when the economy improved and more finance was available. By then East Lancashire was rapidly developing as an industrial area and the canal proprietors realised that there was a greater opportunity for trade around Blackburn and Burnley. The proposed line of canal was altered and when it opened throughout, in 1816, it had been constructed along the route first suggested by the Liverpool merchants.’

Waterside Activities

Rodley has an interesting nature reserve mid way betwixed Leeds and Shipley on the canal side.
Apollo Cruises operate a boat bus service from Shipley in summer. It runs through Saltaire past the Fishermans Inn at Dowley Gap and over the aqueduct to the foot of 5 Rise Lock at Bingley. You can also hire a boat for c.30 people with a meal provided as I did for my 50th birthday. The Pie and Peas were amongst the tastiest I had eaten but I put that down to the drink license and the fresh air.

Walks abound around this area as the river Aire runs parallel to the canal for many miles. Formal walks are provided by the Waterboard or most bookshops but you can usually find your own circular route back to the starting point of take the Towpath Trod.

Book Cover

Fishing except under overhead cables, playing in parkland at Roberts Park and woodland activities at Hirstwoods are all available along the canal near Shipley and families can find a lot to do. For a day out you can do a deal worse than take the fresh air and exercise along Yorkshire Canals.

There is always something interesting to see alongside a canal withold mill chimneys and odd buildings as you enter the Shipley section from Leeds. The view from opposite the towpath at a boat turning circle at Dockfields and there is a wonderful old packhorse bridge (junction bridge 208) on the left sadly in need of a bit of TLC. This junction should be the start of the reopened link to Bradford, when they get cracking, the new canal side apartments will doubtless rise in value (but not aesthetic appearance).

Dutch canal in colour

This atmospheric photograph proves Holland also gets fog on the canal but it doesn’t smell as good as Yorkshire fog or our canal.

Frizinghall and It’s Mucky Railway Station


Frizinghall is now a suburb of Bradford but boasts it’s own railway station on the Ilkley and Skipton lines.

frizinghall station

The station strikes me as unique for a suburban station. The west bound platform shown in the photo is well west of the eastern platform. In fact you have to cross a busy road via flights of steps and meander down the road to swap over from one platform to the other.

station steps

The steps at both sides are very steep.


Litter is a major problem at the station.
Fly tippers use the area for no good reason.
Travelers using the station drop litter and mustn’t be proud of their local area as this picture shows.
The railway company can’t be bothered to clean up! Shame on them!
The local council has paths and by-ways passing the station that are in a dirty state. Time they did some enforcement and cleaning-up.

Bill Bryson, author and president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England have published a guide on complaining about litter.
Bryson attacked rail companies for awarding millions of pounds in bonuses to senior executives while failing to spend money to protect the environment see more in the Guardian
Network rail blame the public saying ‘railways are a prime target for litter and illegally dumped rubbish by members of the public. When members of the public throw their litter on to the tracks or leave it at the stations or dump household & building waste on our land, it causes us health & safety problems. For example, litter attracts rats to the railway. Rats like to chew on signal cables as well as rubbish and this can lead to signal failures, delays & even accidents’.

Mucky Duck

Not far from the station is a pub to slake your thirst, the Black Swan known as the ‘Mucky Duck’.
The muck sticks around the station so lets hope someone gets their act together.
We should all Keep Britain Tidy. For those criminals who do not do so, the council or landowners including rail companies should clean up their act.