A CRAVEN Diary with Lesley Tate considers ways to tackle water shortages and whether ‘if it's yellow, let it mellow’ is a step too far. There is also extricating a stuck lamb from a deep hole; and 70 years ago, when children were terrified by low flying American planes.

I WAS way ahead of the crowd this week when Yorkshire Water asked people to consider spending less time in the shower, and to let their lawns turn brown. The first day of soaring temperatures, which saw Craven melting in 30C, saw water demand reach a 15 year high - and so, we were asked to make savings.

But, amongst the helpful water saving tips included in Yorkshire Water’s press release, by the way, does anyone still keep the tap on when brushing their teeth? - was their no mention of ‘selective’ flushing of the toilet.

My household was initially horrified; but following a ridiculously high water bill, we gave it a go, the first quarter saw a decrease of more than £10 - and you can’t argue with that.

I understand reduced flushing is common in other countries. I heard a South African woman describe recently how she had been genuinely shocked by someone leaving the tap on while teeth cleaning. She then went onto describe ‘When its yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

Now, I appreciate its not for everyone, and you need to be on your guard against surprise visitors. The police officer who dropped in recently to use my facilities was half way up the stairs when I remembered; I managed to get to the toilet first, but I suspected she thought it all a bit strange.

Back in 1976, the last time when it got very hot; my dad connected a hose to the bath water pipe and used that to water the garden - the plants and trees didn’t seem to mind the soapy water one bit.

On its website, Yorkshire Water suggests a number of water saving tips, including using watering cans instead of a hose, and something called a ‘flushsaver’ to put in the cistern, there is no mention tough of ‘when its yellow’. Find out more at: Yorkshirewater.com/save.

FOLLOWING on from my failed attempt to do the Wharfedale Two Peaks Challenge for Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue’s annual fundraiser, I returned to Kettlewell and successfully completed them this time. It helped taking a proper look at the map and making sure I had enough time.

Buckden Pike (702m) was straightforward enough, that one I knew; then it was off across North Moor to Great Whernside (704m).

On the path to Great Whernside was the best ‘beware of the cattle’ signs ever. Walkers are urged to ‘respect the cows personal space’ and not to crowd them. I also liked the advice, not to surprise them. Now, I’m all for respecting the personal space of cattle, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve been chased across fields that I could do with my personal space being respected. That said, it’s an excellent sign, and certainly beats the old style ‘beware of the bull’.

About three quarters of the way up Great Whernside on the footpath close to the Richmondshire border, I heard the muffled bleating of a sheep.

After investigating further, the noise came from under the ground. I scrabbled around a bit, on my stomach, it was very overgrown and I didn’t fancy disappearing down one of those sink holes.

The lamb had fallen down a narrow hole and thankfully wedged itself on a ledge - the bottom of the hole was way below the moor. The lamb was happily just within my reach, and I was able to grab hold of its fleece and haul it out.

It was very dirty, very cold, and stank, but seemed fine. It shot off and headed towards the rest of the flock, which was some way off, evidently not interested in hanging around for long.

I’ve no idea how long it had been down there, and it was certainly not getting out on its own. It would’ve been a miserable death, so I was glad I heard it and managed to get it without making a call to UWFRA, whose members do spend a lot of time similarly heaving sheep out of holes.

So, I continued on my way up to the summit, before heading back down to Kettlewell. At least now I can wear my UWFRA medal without feeling a cheat.

ON the subject of water shortages, I was interested to read in the Craven Herald of 70 years ago, that’s August 8, 1952, how a water supply problem at Farnhill had been solved with the laying of 1,500 yards of asbestos pipe.

Prompt action had been taken by the council after it had been warned there was a potential danger to public health because of a lack of water, reported the Herald.

The temporary, asbestos pipeline carried water to Farnhill from the Bradley borehole, much to the relief of people in Farnhill - but then, of course, they were unaware of the dangers of asbestos.

ALSO in the 1952 edition, there was a lot of rumpus in Settle because of some low flying by American air force pilots.

The Herald reported that the then Settle Parish Council had received several complaints of low flying aircraft, and mostly to do with four American planes. By all accounts, schoolchildren were terrified and several elderly people had to receive attention.

In a letter to the paper the following week, a Mr A G Harris defended the pilots and described the flying as an ‘inspiring demonstration of high speed precision flying by jet aircraft’. He finished off his letter with: “Personally, I would rather see the Americans over Settle than the Russians.”