OTLEY AND DISTRICT MEN’S FORUM

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 A resident’s view of the Dales
Mr Geoff Queen

22nd Oct 2009

From Rails to Dales was the path taken by our speaker Geoff Queen who has previously told us about his life as a Civil Engineer with British Rail. Today he recounted his life since his retirement to Wharfedale.

A resident of Kettlewell, he told us of the advantages and disadvantages of Dales life. Transport, weather and midges are the main drawbacks. It is wetter in the upper dale than Otley and the nearest conurbation is a thirty mile round trip. Community spirit is still strongly evident and there are numerous community activities in the dales towns with Grassington offering over sixty.

The geological structure of the dale has been the prime cause of the course of its development. Good grazing for farming, lead mining for the roofs of the Yorkshire Abbeys and sand and gravel quarrying all contributed to the population growth and decline. Today tourism is the main economic driver although this industry has not yet recovered to its pre Foot and Mouth level.

The hotel in Kettlewell named Race Horse is said to derive its name from “ Trace Horses” a name given to the beasts used to pull wagons up Park Rash. And Kettlewell is thought to be one of the first places in England to have Hydro Electric power generation, which was started in 1915.

Geoff also showed us numerous projected photographs of the dale showing the variation in views changed by the weather and season, before he closed his talk with a recitation of a poem about the small Hydro Electric plant.  


Due to the inability of the previously booked speakers to come on Thursday 5th November the talk will now be Patagonia by Tony Birkett. This will take place in Otley Civic Centre at 10-00 am.

 

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