A Day In The Dales – 1912


This is an account of a day getting to The George at Thoralby. Nowadays the Dales can be reached from the West Riding in about a couple of hours, but in 1912, the date of my story, it was a day’s journey.

Our destination was Thoralby, near Aysgarth and our party consisted of Mother; children; 10 and 8 and myself (12); plus an old english sheepdog.

Living in Keighley, then a town of foundries, textile mills with tall mill chimneys emitting smoke and smog day and night, my Dad had the idea that fresh country air would be beneficial, so we set off by train early onemorning. Our luggage consisted of a large basket in two pieces fitting one inside the other. This held an enormous amount of clothes and raincoats: tennis racquets etc. were carried.

On arrival at Skipton we embarked on a local train to Grassington. There we had lunch at a pub, and waited for our next mode of transport. This turned out to be a large open coach, a folded hood at the back which, in case of rain, had to be dragged over by the driver and passengers, and fastened with straps.

During the journey to Buckden we ran from one side to another, enchanted by wild roses in the hedgerows, dog daisies, campions and cranesbill. We traced out the baby Wharfe flowing alongside the road. The Driver gave us a demonstration of the famous “Kettlewell Echo” by honking on his rubber-bulbed horn.

Arriving at Buckden we waited for our transport for the next stage. This was a small horse-drawn wagonette, very high and wobbly. To his great delight my brother was allowed to ride on the box with the driver. Occasionally we had to walk up a hill, and enjoyed scampering along the road, exclaiming at the little streams sparkling in the sunshine. Rabbits scuttled out of our way, and clusters of hazelnuts in rosettes of leaves promised future delight.

Eventually we reached the village and our destination, The George, where we were welcomed by our hostess. and Mother bought beer for the very thirsty driver which was fetched from the cellar in a jug. Mother and Mrs Beck then elegantly toasted each other with a wine glass of Port: the in drink for ladies at the time,

A huge cooked meal with the local Wensleydale cheese and curd tart laced with rum rounded off our “Day in the Dales”.


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