Malhamdale Local History Group    


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Excerpt from

The Yorkshire Dales

by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingleby

published by JM Dent & Sons in 1955

Should you go to Airton in mid afternoon of the last Saturday in August you will find in full swing the major annual event in the dale, the Malhamdale Agricultural and Horticultural Show, a show neither too small to be of only local interest nor too large to be impersonal. Undulating park land with Malham Cove in sight makes the show ground. Two men discuss the judging: 'How's t'cows gitten on? Who's winning?' to which is replied: 'Seems to be about iwerybody.'
But the pens of sheep are all-important, pens of Dalesbred, Swaledale, and half-bred sheep, and of fat lambs here, where produce for the towns is paramount. We inquired of a group of farmers how and why the fteeces of the sheep of some exhibitors were darker than natural, and were told that a weak solution of creosote or peat water was used to dye them. 'It makes 'em look more like moor sheep,' they said. Here they have sheepdog trials, a dog show, a pony gymkhana, a fell race, motorcycle races, and a dance at night. In the produce tent chocolate cakes, sponge cakes, biscuits, shortbread, apple pies, and other delicacies made us wish that critics of English cooking might sample this kind of fare in which the dales housewife excels.


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