Last Tuesday night my wife suggested watching "Too long a winter" - the first of 3 DVDs about the dales farmers and Hannah Hauxwell in particular. I had never heard of "Hannah" but so captivated was I that I stayed up half the night watching them all! Driving down to England on business the following day I could not stop thinking about this remarkable lady and ordered this book that very evening. As my trip brought me back up the A1 later in the week, I found my car straying off the A66 and up into "Hannah's Baldersdale" on a beautiful summer's evening. Walking the last mile or so I finally found myself at "Hannah's Meadow", now a nature reserve. Reading the book (I haven't quite finished it yet) it is striking that a vibrant community gradually abandoned the dale after the last war and by 1973 "Hannah" really was a castaway - "one of the last". But whilst her vivid descriptions of the people and the way of life are told with affection, they are not sentimentalised, lending the stories a a profound authenticity as well as charm. Today the high farms of "Baldersdale" (including Low Birk Hat) look to be mostly occupied again - perhaps better roads and communications, so perhaps some of that life has come back again - in a different way.