Voices From The Dales podcast

NEW! ‘Swaledale Farmer’, Series Three of the Voices From The Dales podcast, was published in the first week of Easter (Monday 1st April to Sat 6th April 2024).

Series 3. Episode 1 – ‘Deep Black’ (Christine Clarkson part 1). The new series is introduced by Andrew Fagg. Enter champion Swaledale sheep breeder Christine Clarkson, checking on tup Mo. She shares the story of her farming career and her thoughts on the direction of the Swaledale breed, as well as a conversation between tourists overheard in Muker’s famous meadows. Published 1 April.

Series 3. Episode 2 – ‘Eager To Learn’ (Christine Clarkson part 2).   Christine speaks about wildflower identification, hay meadow management and peat depth testing.  She reveals how the authorities once regarded Kisdon hill top as being of insufficient environmental interest to warrant stewardship payments, and closes with stirring advocacy of the importance of local communities. Published 2 April.

Series 3. Episode 3 – ‘So Much Grass’ (Sue Ridley).   Sue describes the unique location of Kexwith Farm in lower Swaledale.  She humorously rejects the title of ‘farmer’s wife’, tells the story of the revival of a remnant of ancient woodland, and reveals how engagement with stewardship schemes has led to healthier stock and more grass.  Published 3 April.

Series 3. Episode 4 – ‘Side By Side’ (Ray Ridley).   As Ray gives his beloved White Park cattle a scratch in a rain-battered shed, he reveals how Swaledale sheep numbers have come down over the years as stewardship schemes have come in.  He describes how lapwings and sheep ‘look out for each other’, how ‘scrapes’ have been dug to provide habitat for the birds, and how he grew up on the farm wondering at the abundance of wildlife.   Published 4 April.

Series 3. Episode 5 – ‘Maar Rain No Hay’ (Michael Watson part 1).   Michael fothers sheep in a high allotment with haylage and cake.   He paints a picture of the scene in Upper Teesdale, and describes how much the stock means to him.  The talk turns to the changing climate and Michael reveals that 2023 was the first time no hay was made at Stoney Hill.    Published on 5 April.

Series 3. Episode 6 – ‘A Big Part’ (Michael Watson part 2 and Rachel Watson)    Michael shares his knowledge of bird life on the farm, stressing that there is as much wildlife about as there ever was.   He describes how the farm business is dealing with the government’s major change to farm payments.   Michael shares his views on the Swaledale breed in the sheep shed, and there’s a cameo from daughter Rachel who describes her attraction to a career in hill farming.  Published on Sat 6 April.

Series Three ‘Swaledale Farmer’ has been produced with the support of the Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected programme, which is led by the North Pennines National Landscape team and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Scroll down for Series One (Various Themes) and Series Two (Dialect). Voices From The Dales is a mix of fresh interviews and clips from the museum’s oral history archive. All episodes are 15 minutes and presented by Andrew Fagg.

Series One of Voices From The Dales

Series One had 15 episodes. It was published between March 2021 and August 2022. Episodes 1-5 came out during a ‘Coronavirus lockdown’ in March 2021 and were funded by Museum Development Yorkshire’s ‘Museum Development Fund Grant’, with support from The Nash in Hawes. Episode 6 ‘Fell Runners’ was a one-off inspired by a special exhibition at the museum. Episodes 7-8, ‘Cheese Past’ and ‘Cheese Present’, were published as part of the 2021 Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival. Episodes 9-14, ‘Our Ingleborough’ Parts 1-6, were commissioned by Wild Ingleborough. Episode 15 ‘Peatland’ was recorded on Fleet Moss.

Series One. Episode 1 – Schools pt 1: A cockerel down a chimney, school closures, sex education and a ‘Roman toilet’ are discussed in Episode One of Voices From The Dales.  Hear the voices of John Waggett from Gunnerside, Joan Fawcett and Christa Fagg Rawlence from Hawes, Sally Stone from West Burton, Norman Guy from Muker, Enid Lundberg from Arkengarthdale and Barbara Buckingham from Reeth.  Also meet Mary Burrow, the woman who devoted her life to one Dales school.  It is presented by Andrew Fagg from outside Hawes Primary School in Upper Wensleydale and was recorded on 5 March 2021.

Series One. Episode 2 – Schools pt 2: Clogs, snow, the bus driver and the ‘kiddy catcher’ are discussed in Episode Two of Voices From The Dales.  Hear the voices of Kit Calvert, Joan Fawcett, Eric and Vera Alderson and Reggie Fagg Rawlence – all from Hawes – as well as John Waggett from Gunnerside, Norman Guy from Muker, Jennie Sunter from Keld, Brian Sunter from Low Row, Eleanor Scarr from Bainbridge, and Allen Kirkbride from Askirgg.   It is presented by Andrew Fagg from outside Hawes Primary School and was recorded on 5 March 2021.

Series One. Episode 3 – Chapels: “The energy is no longer there,” said the Methodist minister in Reeth in 2016, as another Dales chapel closed.  As journalist Mike Amos reported, a way of life was quietly disappearing. Chapels were at the heart of village life in Wensleydale and Swaledale for around 150 years, but decline set in during the second half of the last century.  And yet in half a dozen places such as Gayle and Gunnerside the Methodists are ‘still alive’, as they like to say.  In this episode hear Walden preacher Rowland Dent, as well as Jean Cockburn from Aysgarth, Joan Fawcett from Hawes and the late Richard Dinsdale of Gayle.  It is presented by Andrew Fagg from outside West Burton Methodist Church and was recorded on 4 March 2021.

Series One. Episode 4 – Bard: John Thwaite (1873-1941) was a Wensleydale dialect poet who wrote about the natural beauty as well as the ordinary working class people around him.  He worked as a grocer in the town of Hawes.  Some 30 years after his death a group of people in Wensleydale recorded his poems on cassette tapes.  In this episode hear two poems read by Jack Fawcett:  ‘The Quarryman’s Cross’ and ‘T’Auction Mart’.   It is presented by Andrew Fagg from Hawes Main Street and was recorded on 6 March 2021.

Series One. Episode 5 – Museum Makers: Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby founded a museum and brought pleasure to millions of people through their popular books on the Yorkshire Dales.   What started their love affair with the Dales?  How did they encourage Dales folk to tell their stories?    And what role does museum they created, the Dales Countryside Museum, have today?  In this episode hear the voices of Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby, Guy Ingleby of Littondale, Taylor Dinsdale from Gayle, and Fiona Rosher, the current Museum Manger. It is presented by Andrew Fagg from outside the Dales Countryside Museum and was recorded on 1 March 2021.

Series One. Episode 6 – Fell Runners: Fell running is one of the oldest and most traditional sports in northern England.   Races take place across the Yorkshire Dales throughout spring and summer.  In this podcast you are taken to the ‘Hawkswick Dash’ in Littondale in June 2021, organised by the British Open Fell Runners Association.  Hear the voices of Skipton’s ‘Mr Sport’ Roger Ingham, ‘Run The Dales’ writer and organiser Victoria Benn, Kilnsey Show fell race record holder Mick Hawkins and Wensleydale fell runners Heather Hodgson and Brian Carlisle.    The cover photo is by Stephen Garnett Photography.  As Stephen has said, the image, taken at the Hawkswick Dash, “captures the lung busting rawness of fell running”.

Series One. Episode 7– Cheese Past: Producing milk and making cheese are essential industries in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. What’s the story behind this great tradition? Find out in ‘Cheese Past’, the first of two Voices From The Dales podcast episodes dedicated to cheese. Presented by Andrew Fagg, in Hawes, hear the voices of Brian Sunter, Margaret Watson, Matthew Bell, Eleanor Scarr, Kit Calvert, Derek Ramsden and Iona Hill

Series One. Episode 8 – Cheese Present: The Courtyard Dairy cheese shop at the foot of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales has been named ‘among the best 50 food shops in the world’ by the Financial Times.  In Voices From The Dales ‘Cheese Present’ hear the Courtyard Dairy story from co-founder Andy Swinscoe and his fellow cheesemongers, as they ‘fill faces’ with farmhouse cheese made from raw milk.  ‘Cheese Present’ follows on from the last episode, Cheese Past, which featured clips from the oral history collection at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.   ‘Cheese Present’ was recorded at the Courtyard Dairy on Tues 28 Sept 2021, in advance of the fourth Dales ‘Cheese Festival’. 

Series One. Episode 9 – Our Ingleborough Part One: Farming. The Ingleborough area covers around 100 square kilometres and it is the mountainous heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  It is mostly a farmed landscape.  In Part One of Our Ingleborough , commoner and dairyman John Dawson explains hill farming practices. ‘Our mark is a red arse,’ he says, referring to his sheep, before developing the argument that ‘everything is fine as long as you walk hand in hand with nature’. 

Series One. Episode 10 – Our Ingleborough Part 2: Ribblesdale. Ribblesdale is the main valley in the Ingleborough area and is renowned for its quarries.  In Part Two, local farmer and former quarryman Winston White reflects honestly on his career.  ‘If they had the chance they’d knock your house down and crush that up as well,’ he says.    Ribblesdale has also become home to printmaker Hester Cox. She has become so well known for using natural materials in her work that she receives unusual gifts. ‘People give me little boxes with dead birds in,’ she says. 

Series One. Episode 11 – Our Ingleborough Part Two: Recreation.  Thousands of people, often from the towns and cities of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, travel each week to the Ingleborough area for recreation.   In Part Three, hear two men from a Muslim hikers group.  Group leader Sham Ali proudly declares that he is from ‘Bradford, born and bred as a Yorkshireman,’ while teacher Tariq Shiraz shares his admiration for the way people try to keep the area free from litter.  ‘People walk with bin liners,’ he says.  Also in Part Three, Anna Greenwood goes for a dip with Les Peebles.  ‘It quite clearly puts me into the present moment,’ says the all-year-round outdoor swimmer known as the ‘Dales Dipper’. 

Series One. Episode 12 – Our Ingleborough Part Four: Campaigners. People have visions for the future of Ingleborough.  For many, the hope is that it will become a wilder, even more species-rich environment.  In Part Four, hear how Rachel Benson, who runs a bunk barn, has been making the vision a reality.   ‘Now it is very flowery,’ she says of a restored hay meadow.   Also hear the voice of an activist, Amy-Jane Beer.  ‘It’s my place to go out to roam at will,’ she says.

Series One. Episode 13 – Our Ingleborough Part Five: Caving. Ingleborough is limestone – or karst – country.  It is world famous for its caves.   Part Five features Avelina Wright from the local Cave Rescue Organisation.  ‘We don’t only pull humans out of holes,’ she says.  Such was the pull of the caves for Lincolnshire woman Leann Rennie, she upped sticks and moved to the area.   ‘There’s everything here that adventurous people like,’ she says.  Her husband, Tam Rennie, also speaks of caving, while also giving an insight into his day job as signalman at Blea Moor on the Settle-Carlisle railway.  ‘You don’t have to talk to anyone, it’s just bells,’ he says, glorying in the isolation. 

Series One. Episode 14 – Our Ingleborough Part Six: Classic Oral History. In Part Six, hear children from nearby Settle Primary School interview their grandparents.  93 year old Edna Thornton, from the village of Austwick to the south of Ingleborough mountain, remembers the days when the milkman delivered milk directly into a jug on her doorstep each morning.   Two granddads from Settle are asked about the changes they have seen in the natural environment.  Meanwhile builder Kevin Woods, who from his home looks at Ingleborough’s peak, reflects on a lifetime of restoring traditional buildings in a way which doesn’t rob birds of their nest sites.  ‘We’ll do owt we can for nature,’ he says.

Series One. Episode 15 – Peatland. Hear the voice of the bog as recorded by composer Sarah Smout at a vast area of peatland in the Yorkshire Dales called Fleet Moss.  Peat Restoration Officer at the Yorkshire Peat Partnership Jenny Sharman speaks about how she has developed a ‘real love’ for Fleet Moss as a ‘black, broken land’ has once again become a place with ‘a wealth of life’. The episode also features Bishopdale landowner and grouse shooting enthusiast Rob Brown speaking about the recovery of the nearby Stake Moss peatland.  And there is great archive clip from 1963 of Grassington farmer Oswald Jacques on cutting and drying peat for domestic use.  

Series Two of Voices From The Dales

Unlike Series One with its variety of subjects, Series Two has a single theme. It is on dialect, as spoken by the people of the village of Gayle and the nearby town of Hawes in Upper Wensleydale. The first six episodes were published between November 2022 and March 2023. ** Episodes 7-9 featuring Kit Calvert are to be published on 1 November 2023 **

A trailer for Series Two on dialect, Episodes 1-6, was published on 21 November 2022.

Series Two. Episode 1 – Dialect Part One: Lizzie Dinsdale. Presenter Andrew Fagg introduces Series Two on Dales dialect, with special guests Val and Rob Ward.  He visits Hawes Methodist Cemetery and makes the case for dialect.  Enter then the remarkable voice of the late Lizzie Dinsdale, in a recording made 50 years ago but until now hidden away.   She gives her recipe for havercake and speaks about doing a ‘man’s part’ at hay time.  Published on 2 December 2022.

Series Two. Episode 2 – Dialect pt.2: Rev James Alderson and Aunt Lizzie.   Presenter Andrew Fagg is by the beck in Gayle village to introduce the late local historian Rev James Alderson and the late Lizzie Alderson.  There is a touching story about a petted pig, along with excerpts from a lecture given by Rev James in the early 1980s at the Grassington Festival.  Both characters are remembered by special guests Rob and Val Ward.   The work of Trevor Sharpe and Bradford Youth Service in the gathering of the original interviews, more than 40 years ago, is further explained.  Published on Friday 16 December 2022

Series Two. Episode 3 – Dialect pt.3: Hannah Metcalfe, Taylor Dinsdale. After a noisy introduction at Gayle Bridge, this episode opens with a little more of Rev James Alderson, including a short study of his 1980 Dales dialect primer.   Presenter Andrew Fagg then stands by the black-painted railings of Foss Head Farm house in the village of Gayle to cue in a 1977 recording of the late Hannah Metcalfe (nee Alderson).  The Metcalfe name and family is described.  The late Taylor Dinsdale, interviewed by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby, comes next.  Hear him speak about bynames in Gayle, as well as life before flushing toilets. Taylor Dinsdale is described by special guest Rob Ward.  Published on Friday 6 January 2023.

Series Two. Episode 4 – Dialect pt.4: Fishing and Jessie Blades. Series Two special guest Rob Ward says, ‘There’s no fish in’t beck’.  The sad recent demise of brown trout in Upper Wensleydale prompts a diversion from dialect into fishing.   Three more voices from 1977 are heard: Fred Nuttall recounts the formation of Hawes and High Abbotside Angling Association; Jessie Blades speaks of her family’s fame at fly dressing and their work as bailiffs; and Chris Heseltine talks vividly about grobbling (tickling) trout.  Presented by Andrew Fagg from the river Ure, Hawes Bridge and Gayle Beck, this episode was published on Friday 20 January 2023.

Series Two. Episode 5 – Dialect pt.5: George Calvert’s verses. Series Two special guest Val Ward reads the dialect verse of the late road sweeper George Calvert from Gayle.  Three poems are featured: ‘Kit Storra’; ‘Mi Granfatther’; and ‘T’Paper Lad’, which was written in tribute to John Mason. Special guest Rob Ward also remembers the village allotments and George ‘Laps’ Alderson.  Presented by Andrew Fagg from Gayle chapel, where George Calvert said people would sing ‘wi’ a gusto ‘et mead yer throoats thrive’. Published on Friday 3 February 2023.

Series Two. Episode 6 – Dialect pt.6: At the Washdub. Once the village children’s favourite place to play, the Gayle millpond – known as the washdub – becomes the place for a reflection on dialect, as the series draws to a close for now.  Series Two special guests Rob and Val Ward remember the washdub as a place of meeting.  There’s a reminder of how dialect sounded, with another archive clip of Lizzie Dinsdale.  From the 1977 tapes, Kit Calvert tells how some people regarded dialect as wicked.  And Helen Guy of the Keld Resource Centre shares her experiences of using Dales dialect among workmates in Newcastle.  Presented by Andrew Fagg from Gayle washdub and published on Friday 17 February 2023.

Series Two. Trailer for Episodes 7-9 on Kit Calvert. Published on 17 Oct 2023.

Series Two. Episode 7 – Dialect pt.7: Kit Calvert, ‘Wass than nowt’. Kit Calvert, one time saviour of Wensleydale Cheese, is introduced.   A description is given of the various recordings of him held at the Dales Countryside Museum.  From the 1977 Trevor Sharpe tapes, we hear Kit Calvert tell how his use of dialect made the Queen Mother laugh.  And it is revealed how Wensleydale dialect propelled Wensleydale cheese onto the national stage, with the help of a Mr Capstick. Published on Wed 1 November 2023.

Series Two. Episode 8 – Dialect pt.8: Kit Calvert, ‘Wily old bird’. Series Two special guest Rob Ward remembers Kit Calvert.  He adds ‘warts and all’ to our understanding of the man regarded as the ‘Complete Dalesman’.  After Rob, a Kit Calvert recording gifted to the museum in 2019 is published for the first time ever.  It is the story of how he came to faith through the travails of a milk cow. Published on Wed 1 November 2023.

Series Two. Episode 9 – Dialect pt.9: Kit Calvert, ‘Lord, do somemat f’t’cow’. Kit Calvert’s conversion and cow story, begun in episode 8, concludes.  We also hear him telling how he was persuaded to ‘translate’ parts of the Bible into Wensleydale dialect, and why he collected the poems of John Thwaite. He reads from St John’s gospel and the poem ‘Wakken Mother Wakken’.  This is followed by concluding thoughts on dialect.   Published on Wed 1 November 2023.