ELHAS Meeting Report February 2009

Thirty nine members and guests attended the February ELHAS meeting to hear an illustrated talk by John Gilleghan, MBE, entitled 'The Magic of the Yorkshire Dales'.
John is a well known local historian who regularly writes for various publications and was for some years a frequent guest on Radio Leeds. After graduating from Durham university he spent 14 years as a biology teacher at Temple Moor High School .

John began his talk by telling us how, as a new teacher, he had introduced his pupils to the delights of the Yorkshire Dales by organising weekend visits. In this way, he nurtured his own interest in botany developed whilst at university in the company of one David Bellamy. The photographs within his collection were taken over many years of holidays and weekends spent in his beloved Dales. Initially he surprised us all by telling us that there are over 200 dales of various sizes, but all of them unique in character and beauty. His tour concentrated mainly on Swaledale, but also ventured into other dales such as Wharfedale and Ribblesdale. He was at pains to point out however, that only the first 26 miles of Ribblesdale are in Yorkshire and they are the most picturesque 26 miles! Accompanied by John's interesting and informative commentary we roamed around beauty spots such as Muker, Reeth and Hawes seeing churches, abbeys and naturally many pubs and inns, including Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England. He delighted us with a story about the recent advertising campaign by a well known double glazing company who installed a solar panel in the pub's roof. Subsequently a 'jobs worth' planning officer from Darlington visited to enquire if the appropriate planning permission had been granted. He was swiftly seen off by the redoubtable landlady. The dispute finally went to court, and to everyone's relief the landlady won her case.

Included in the show were some dales photographs from over 100 years ago and it was comforting to see that except for the intervention of the motor car (and all they bring with them such as double yellow lines ) most of the dales villages and towns have changed little over the century. That is the charm of the dales and what inspires thousands of visitors to flock there. Last night we were privileged to be able to share John's enthusiasm with him.

The next meeting on Monday 30th March will be an illustrated talk by Mairian McDonald entitled "Cambodia - From Angen Wat to the Khymer Rouge"