Film ID:
YFA 328

DALE DAYS

1940

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is an idyllic film by Charles Chislett that captures four children holidaying with their families in the Yorkshire Dales.  The filmmaker shows his son and daughter and two other little girls as they wander around and play in the many famous landmarks such as Buttertubs Pass, Aysgarth Falls and historic towns such as Richmond.  The film also captures the process of making Wenslydale cheese.  Intertitles are used throughout the film to identify the different areas that the families visit in the Yorkshire Dales.  There are also extensive views of the surrounding countryside.

The film opens with extensive views of the snow covered Dales village  showing the church, village green and houses.
Title - ‘Dale Days’. 
Title - ‘We shall get the feeling of a spring holiday if we pass through the autumn and winter first.’
The autumnal countryside is shown; the leaves on the trees are golden brown.  Two people are walking on the far side of a pond with a hill in the distance.

Title - ‘Sooner or later came the blizzards snow rifts have covered the hills.’
There are then extended views of the dales throughout the winter period, again all the hills are covered with snow.  A number 84 bus bound for Sheffield drives slowly through a lane that has snow banked up either side.
Title - ‘Dawn’
There are more views of the countryside in the dawn light that reflects against the snow.

A little boy and girl holding hands walk through the snow, play together, and then the girl walks down a lane alone with snow piled high on either side of the lane.  A truck and a car drive through the snow and a boy plays.

Title - ‘At last the day came when’
It is now spring, the families garden has bright flowers in the flower beds.  The filmmaker’s girl and boy walk towards a car.  She carries a child size suitcase and he a fishing rod.
Title - ‘At Ilkley they sell love.’
Later boy sits in the car and poses for the camera eating an ice cream.

Title - ‘We follow the Wharfe up towards the hills’
The countryside of dales is bathed in bright sunshine, and the river Wharfe flows through the fields.  The children then approach a stone wall, climb over it, and walk along the small grassy banks next to the river before having a picnic with their mother. Back at the river edge, they climb along small rocks before climbing back over the fence.  The filmmaker shows more views of the countryside.

Title - ‘At Buckden our road leaves the wharf and climbs over the moors where the primroses are still in bloom’.
The girl picks the primroses from a bank at the side of the road before returning to the waiting car with a bunch in her hand.

Title - ‘The shadows are lengthening on the village green when we reach Bainsbridge and the travelling circus takes is in possession.’
At the village green a large circus tent is set up.  There are horses and foals nearby and some parked cars.  After the show people then exit the circus tent.

Title - ‘In the morning the air is rich with sweet scents as the sun breaks through the mists.’
Bainsbridge village is shown in mist where there are small stone houses, horses gambling on the village green, and a village pub where the filmmaker's daughter looks out of the window playing with a doll.  The children then play on the grass outside with a small dog.

Title - ‘We go in search of Biddy and Pat who are staying nearby.’
The filmmaker’s children walk down a country road.  The boy is carrying a cone and ball to play with, the ball drops and the girl runs after it.  The film then swiftly cuts to show a woman and two girls in the distance.  The children then run to greet each other on the road.

Title - ‘Family excursion No 1’
The two families walk in the hills, and the children climb through sty in a stone wall.  They then proceed to walk through the field on the other side. They come to a tall but thin waterfall that has a rocky stream at the bottom.  The children wander around the stream together before they play hide and seek.  The three girls, huddled together in a corner, hide from the boy who eventually finds them.  More views of the surrounding countryside are shown.
Title - ‘And so to home’
The children walk off in pairs, hand in hand over the brow of a grassy hill.  There are more views of the village.

Title - ‘Lets go to Aysgarth Woods’
The children pick flowers and then stand in a circle holding their posies.
Title - ‘If you climb down through the woods towards the river you will find’
The filmmaker’s daughter stands area above the River Ure and looks down to it.  At the rivers edge- by Aysgarth Falls- the children walk along the flat stones.  Extensive shots of the river flowing along over the famous falls, the boy plays with a stick the girls lean over a rock and look into the water. Later they are in swimming costumes and play in the river.  One girl stands in a rock in the middle of the river and poses for the camera.  They then all lie sunbathing on the rocks.  The scene closes with more shots of them playing on the rocky bank.  Later at Bainsbridge Village Green, the filmmaker’s daughter puts her feet through some stocks, and her brother tickles her feet with a flower.

Title - ‘Next morning the mists are low on the hills and we are bound for Swaledale, via Butter-Tubs Pass.’
By means of a panning shot, the filmmaker captures the area covered in mist.  A man walks up a hill, Hungerhill, Faw Head, with a milk-churn on his back.  A car is shown parked on a hill as two cyclists approach.
  Later the family visit Butter-Tubs Pass, and some shots show the water falling down through the rocks.  The parents help the children over the tops, and the children are seen poking there head out of the cracks, smiling to the camera, before their mother then lifts them out.

Title - ‘The picnic was a rather chilly affair so afterwards we had a parcel!!’
The children open a parcel to reveal a child’s size cricket set. ‘First Attempts’ The boy hits the ball along the ground, and his sister then sets up the wickets, and a game begins.  The parents join in and carry the children to help them from wicket to wicket when they hit the ball.  A comical sequence shows the father batting.  After many attempts to hit the ball, it is thrown upwards towards his head and he pretends that the ball has hit his head, is knocked out, and starts to fall over. 

Title - ‘Beyond the Westmoland Hill the clouds were breaking’
Inside a stone-fenced field, a man on a horse and a sheep dog are herding many sheep into a pack.  The children watch from the other side of the fence with their parents.  Later the man comes to the fence and lets the children stroke his horse’s head.

Title - ‘The fishing Lesson’
At a village a man shows a teenage boy how to cast a line.  After showing him a book about flies and explaining other techniques, we see the man walk down to a river.  He wades in and begins to cast his line.  The sequence closes with views of the boy doing the same.

Title - ‘In the evening we watch the first chapter of from Cow to Cheese’
A lengthy sequence shows the process of Wenslydale cheese being made at a diary in Hawes.  Cows are herded into a stone shed where a man is shown milking one.  He then pours the milk into a churn which is then loaded into a small van.  He then drives to another farm where he collects another churn.
Title - ‘The following morning the milk is collected’
The same man wheels some churns in a cart before they are lifted onto the back of an open topped truck.  He then gives another man a receipt for the milk. The postman poses by the truck.  The truck goes off and the man collects more milk churns from other surrounding farms.

At the dairy, a group of men unload the churns pouring the milk into a trough that takes it into the large troughs in the creamery at the Hawes dairy.  An interior shot shows the milk pouring in.
Title - ‘The whey is drained off and goes where it is much appreciated’
The whey is transferred into a pig trough, and the children watch and laugh as pigs and piglets come into the yard and line up by the trough, and eat the whey.  Later in the farmyard, the children stand with their mother.  Chickens, pigs and a dog held by the farmer are also there.

Interior scenes then show a man move about the curds that are forming in the trough.
Title - ‘After draining the curd is salted and packed into tins where it is kept under pressure all night. In the morning’.
On a bench outside two women unpack the cheeses from the tins.  They cut off untidy edges and then wrap it in muslin.  Interior scenes then show the cheeses lined up on shelves.
Title - ‘And so to complete the cycle’
A man, accompanied by a diary worker carries a child across a field towards a cow.  The sequence closes as the man holds the round Wenslydale cheese towards the cow which it precedes to sniff.

Title - ‘Next morning we set off for Richmond’
A man is shown entering a small general store, with a ‘Lyons Tea’ advert, and posts a letter.  The filmmaker then shows, through extensive panning shots, the town of Richmond and the surrounding area.  We see the many stone houses, the village green, a river, a bridge and the imposing castle that overlooks the area.

Title - ‘Next thing is to choose a picnic spot’
A large field is shown carpeted with bluebells. The children walk through it and start to pick them.
Title - ‘Just past Greta Bridge we find an ideal place’
The family unpack the boot of the car, the mother holds paper bags of food and bottles of pop, and one of the girls picks up a small picnic basket and they head off to the river.  There are shots of the river and the rocks on its banks.  On a grassy slope beside it the group sit and have their picnic.  The children then walk off together down the river path.  There are then more shots of the river and Greta Bridge.  The children then play by the river bank rocks, where they find an old bicycle wheel, and the boy, collecting stones, gets into a hollow and peeps out.

A ruined abbey is shown in the distance.
Title - ‘Barnard Castle’
A long shot shows a small town built above a river, we see the bridge and the castle.
Title - ‘Then up to Teesdale and High Force.’ 
The children play at popping their heads up and down below a ledge.  A long shot shows the powerful waterfall as it feeds the river below, possibly Gayle. 

Title - ‘For two people there was magic in the waterfall.’
The camera zooms in to show two of the girls sitting on rocks by the fall looking towards it.  There are then extensive views of the river and surrounding area followed by a shot of another Dales village.
Title - ‘And so to bed, while evening comes to the green.’
The filmmaker’s children enter a house carrying their bluebell posies before the rest of the village is shown at twilight.

Title - ‘On a hill above Bainbridge there was a Roman rest camp for soldiers marching through the forests of Wensleydale, en route for the Hill Road to Lancaster.’
The filmmaker shows long shots of the area and close ups of small part of the remaining road. At the village green the brother and sister play on a see-saw.  The boy gets into a car, and some horses can be seen in the background.

Title - ‘That afternoon Bolton Castle suffered ‘Invasion’’
A long shot shows the castle before we see the four children run up the stone steps into the castle.  From one of the Castle ramparts the surrounding area is shown.  We see the children explore the area and some architectural detail.
Title - ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ Window’
Two of the girls sit on the ledge of the latticed window and look out.

Title - ‘It was an afternoon for the hills; clear air newly washed by the rain, white clod “ranges” lifting beyond the moors, and a promise of summer in the breeze.’
The countryside is shown on a greyish day.  The family car goes down a country path, past an old traffic sign, through some fields.  Later on a road by a stone fence the children are seen climbing over it.
Title - ‘Some walls ask to be climbed, and beyond this one- though here our story ends- you may linger in imagination, and re-live the delights of holiday days’.  

Title - ‘Autumn Epilogue.’ ‘In November we are back in Hawes. The morning mist lingers in the Dales.’ 
A long shot shows the mist at the bottom of the hills, and cows and sheep are seen in a nearby field.
Title - ‘On the way to where our story ended we call at Hadraw Force.’
There are shots of the falls and the surrounding area including snow geese on a river bank.  There are more scenes of the hills, trees covered in red berries, and the girl playing with a ball.  At a quaint village with stone houses and cobbled streets, the girl goes to a fountain at the side of a building and drinks. 

Title - ‘The dog of Dent Dale has his methods’
A collie dog performs his trick for the camera.  He stands by the side of a house with an open window which he jumps up to shut.  He then goes into the house and jumps out of the same window before jumping up to close it again.
Title - ‘The evening light brings a new beauty to Hardraw Force.’
The filmmaker again shows the waterfall, and the setting sun now makes the surrounding rocks glow pinky red. The film then cuts to Hawes where people mill about and a farmer herds his sheep down the main road.  Back to Aysgarth Falls and we see the River Ure running fast downstream where it will eventually turn into the River Ouse and go out towards Hull.  The mother and children are seen picking winter berries or fruit from the trees.  The film closes with a view of the water rushing over one of the falls at Aysgarth.
Title - ‘The End’.