Ribblehead: Sammy Chapman 1941 – 2015

On a glorious warm summer day there are few better places to be than the Yorkshire Dales.  We parked among the bustle at Ribblehead and left the crowds behind walking through the grassland below the slopes of Ingleborough to Great Douk Cave.  Hiking back along the slopes of Whernside, a hillside dotted with caves and sink holes, I was focusing on the stunning views to the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct with 24 massive arches.


The view to Ribblehead Viaduct

On a lane I found this moving memorial bench to Sammy Chapman that gives a panoramic view over this wonderful countryside.  Sammy Chapman as she was known, or Marjorie Chapman, lived at the remote Scar Top Farm at Chapel le Dale.  Sammy Chapman died aged 74 years of age  and the Yorkshire Ramblers Club provided members with the details of Sammy Chapman’s funeral.  The plaque on the memorial bench gives a personal and thoughtful portrait of Sammy Chapman, the words conjuring up a picture of a loving woman in her farmhouse kitchen generously cooking tasty meals for her family and friends.



Knaresborough: Dame Thora Hird Actress



Dame Thora Hird Actress

Walking in the Woodland Trusts’ lovely Nidd Gorge on our way to Knaresborough we came across this memorial bench to the actress Dame Thora Hird (28 May 1911 – 15 March 2005).  A much loved and hard working actor, Thora Hird was born across the Pennines from Knaresborough in Morecambe, Lancashire.  On the stage and TV Thora Hird was a versatile actor who worked until the age of 90-years and won three BAFTAs.

We were lucky to have a beautiful day to visit the paths through the stunning Nidd Gorge, the sunshine filtered through the trees on to the lively river and the network of paths.  We had walked from the handsome Ripley Castle where romance was in the air with a wedding, along the old railway line to the river.  Once we were at the bottom of the gorge, the overhanging trees provided plenty of resting spots for the kingfisher that followed our progress along the River Nidd.


Dappled sunshine along the River Nidd near Knaresborough

I was intrigued to find this bench as I had always associated Thora Hird with Lancashire not Yorkshire and I took the photographs for the blog to prompt me to find out more.  Despite searches I am no wiser and have not been able to find any link between Thora Hird and the lovely town of Knaresborough.  Thora Hird does have links with the county of Yorkshire; she played Edith ‘Edie’ Pegden from 1986 to 2003 in the Yorkshire comedy sitcom ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ filmed in Holmfirth in West Yorkshire and many of her finest performances were in roles created by the Yorkshire playwright Alan Bennett, including starring in two of his dramatic monologues Talking Heads.


Saltburn by the Sea: John ‘Fred’ Pugmire 1931-2012

Saltburn by the Sea is a lovely seaside town that is meant for strolling around.  It is within the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland and was developed as a resort by the local Pease family.  This same family were behind the Stockton and Darlington railway, which was the line used for the first public passenger train pulled by Locomotion No 1 in 1825.

The Pease family had lots of plans to make the town a success; in 1869 Saltburn Pier was opened and a few years later the water powered Saltburn Cliff Lift began operating taking visitors up and down the cliff; these were both renovated in the early 21st century.  I was disappointed that the cliff lift was closed for the winter when we visited, not because I couldn’t manage the steep slope but just for the sheer enjoyment of travelling on the old and elegant lift.  The pier was open and I was able to join the crowds walking along the wooden boards to the end to watch the surfers out catching the waves.

The memorial bench to John ‘Fred’ Pugmire is above the beach and pier and provides a wonderful viewpoint for anyone who stops to rest on their way up or down.  John Frederick Pugmire’s obituary and the bench inscription both tell me some of the story of the man.  John Fred Pugmire was a fine Saltburn man who had been loved through his 81 years and is missed by his family and friends.

This bench got me thinking about the family name Pugmire; this is an unusual name that I haven’t come across before.  The internet suggests that it originates from the West Midlands and a farm belonging to the Pugg family, mire being middle English for bog.  By the late 19th century family members had moved from the West Midlands to the north of England, including the North Riding of Yorkshire.


Saltburn (1)

John ‘Fred’ Pugmire 1931-2012 No finer man I ever knew So stay a while and enjoy the view

Saltburn (2)

Saltburn-by-the-Sea in Cleveland