I was asked again this week how many dales there are in Yorkshire. I can offer an answer but I’ll not claim it to be definitive by any means. In 1949 someone wrote in Dalesman that there were 129 dales within a two-hour drive of Harrogate. Many years later a Dalesman reader also wrote in to say that he had studied the 2.5in OS maps and came up with 562 dales… what his criteria was for judging what was ‘a dale’ – or even what area of the country he covered – we don’t know. Of course, many places have changed names down the centuries (and councils have made some up) and there are local names which might not appear on modern OS maps but have been passed down generations over centuries. I’ve heard mention or read about ‘Cravendale’ many times but I’m not exactly sure where that is. Of course, dale means valley and locals will often say they live at the head of the dale even though this ‘dale’ might be named so-and-so valley (or not named at all). I’ve heard folk talk of Waldendale but others call it Walden Valley. And what about the area that runs from Ribblehead Viaduct down to Ingleton? I’ve heard it called Chapel-le-Dale and Doedale. Anyhow, who is the one with the power to make a final decision on this? Not me I hope.
Photo: Last of the summer sun? Kilnsey in Wharfedale last week.