We receive so many handwritten letters and emails for our Readers’ club every month we just can’t squeeze them all in. So we’re going to start adding your letters to our website too.
Here is a selection, there’s plenty more to come so keep an eye out for regular uploads…

The Sheep Whisperer by Dave Hemsley

My wife and I have been fascinated while being entertained by the articles written about the lifestyle and stories from the wonderful Clive and Amanda Owen and their nine “free range” children at Ravenseat, as I know have thousands of other people. As well as reading Amada’s articles in The Dalesman we have watched all the series on television and been enraptured and enthralled by the work, sharing and enjoyment ethic they have instilled into their children’s lives.
What an amazing family and a refreshing change from the self indulgent and selfish examples portrayed as family today? Not always the children’s fault of course.
We laughed at the expressions that sprang from Clemmy’s mouth when she took on the job of rounding up the sheep that had “allegedly” escaped as a result of Amanda leaving a gate open? Not sure if it was not set up for dramatic effect? But then you couldn’t have scripted Clemmy’s reactions and language could you?
Clemmy’s character of fun, caring and determination to get the job done to her satisfaction must be a source of pride to Amanda and Clive although I am sure the pride ranges over all their children who each have their own contribution to give. But, it was Clemmy that gave me the inspiration to create the attached painting, The Sheep Whisperer.
This was sadly completed too late to enter your design a front cover competition as I intended, but I was wondering with your help whether it would be possible to send it through your wonderful magazine to be viewed by the Owen family to see if they liked it (Yes, we forwarded it on Dave and they were most impressed! Ed).
I have been an artist all my life and, during these troubling times, I felt I would like to help a little by raising funds for the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice at Oxenhope in West Yorkshire, which relies on donations to continue their valuable support for people in their time of need.
Many colleagues and relatives have passed, calmly and peacefully through this caring centre.
All the money raised from the sale of my work will go directly to this hospice.
I share a website where originals, cards and prints can be bought – http://www.yorkshire.art/davidhemsley – or simply prints at http://www.davidhemsley.com
Dave Hemsley, Wilsden, Bradford

Seeing the Signs and wonders photo (September 2020) – there is a similar sign at the start of a narrow lane in Terrington (near Malton) and further on a sign reading “Caution Free Range Children”.
Regarding Julia Chapman and her problem when inspiration strikes, why not buy a small pocket recorder which will easily fit in a pocket or handbag so no need to hunt for pencil and paper when an idea comes to mind?
Neville Withers, Acton, London

The article in the August Dalesman about Wainwright’s Pennine Journey reminded me that I have the 1983 Corgi edition of his walk. I still find it incredible the ground he covered on that walk.
The bit about staying at Muker on the way back, and having his shoe mended by Mr Harker, brought back the time my wife and I went to Muker churchyard, and found the grave of Mr Harker. The name Harker is a real Swaledale name.
Sorry to go on a bit, but I was surprised that the article about The Grand Hotel at Scarborough did not mention that James Herriot did his basic training there when called up by the FAR during the war.
Liddle Stokoe, Ashtead, Surrey

I was very interested to read your article on Sledmere House and the Sykes family. My grandfather was valet to Sir Mark when he lived in London and travelled with him on his journeys through the Ottoman empire and Europe and is often mentioned by Sir Mark in his papers which are held by the Hull University. When Sir Mark moved to Sledmere House my grandfather went with him and ended his employment as butler to the family. My grandmother was one of the cooks at the London residence and moved to Sledmere with my grandfather where she carried on with her with cooking. Grandfather always said they were very good employers. My father, who went to Malton Grammar School, boarded in Malton during the week and returned to Sledmere House at weekends by horse and cart.
John Finch, Thorner, Leeds

The mystery boundary post

When looking through some old photos I came across one that I took on June 14, 1987. In the information on the back of the photo I wondered if it was a fallen boundary post. I took the photo during a walk from Yordas Cave (Kingsdale) up Gragareth and that the object was lying on the moor between them but nearer to the cave. I wonder if anyone knows what the letters on the post meant. The post was partly covered in vegetation so I cleared some off around the “W” but some damp staining still remains. The post may still be there but if so it might be well covered over by now.
David North, Leeds

Danny Flies’ collection of James Herriot literature

One hundred and four years ago, on 3 October, James Alfred Wight, also known as James Herriot, was born. I am now in my fifties but I have so many fond memories seeing the TV series All Creatures Great and Small on Flemish television. Once I was hooked on James, Siegfried, Tristan, Mrs Pumphrey and the rest, I started looking for the original books (albeit in Dutch translation) and enjoyed their escapades even more. Once I was older I bought the original English editions, bought the DVDs, visited the Herriot museum in Thirsk and visited all the Herriot places. It is not an understatement to say that James Herriot was single-handedly responsible for my great love and interest in all things Yorkshire Dales. Since my marriage my wife and I spent many walking holidays in the Dales. And now we have taken a three-year subscription to The Dalesman. So every month we get a little bit of Yorkshire on our doorstep here in Flanders. Because of a well known virus we can’t visit Yorkshire now, but thanks to The Dalesman we can enjoy God’s Own Country from our sofa.
Danny Flies, Antwerp, Belgium

Over more than 50 years I have enjoyed reading The Dalesman. While the magazine has been consistent in presenting good, solid, down to earth information and articles about Yorkshire life it has to be said that for most of that period the style of the magazine was rather “dour” as would be appropriate! However, under the editorship of you and your immediate predecessor the magazine has certainly taken on a more “lively” presentation style, so much so that when my daughter glimpsed the front cover of September’s edition she asked me if The Dalesman had been taken over by Rupert Murdoch! She wasn’t referring to the inset photo of Peter Wright! We all love Amanda and admire her for all she does and she certainly is eye-catching.
Clive Millman, Porthcawl, South Wales

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  1. Heather Horner

    Has anyone lived or has photos of burrill near bedale from mid 50s to mid 60s please?

  2. Heather horner

    I am from burrill and doing my family history,we had christmas parties in the long demolished institute and I would love especially any photos of these parties as I lost mine,many thanks

    • The Dalesman Magazine

      Hello Heather, if you’d like to stick some info down we could include your appeal for memories and photos in the magazine on the letters pages. Email: editorial@dalesman.co.uk


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