Glorious weather again in the Dales, the sun shining, curlews burbling, lambs getting stuck in cattle grids, as a record 41 Milestoners assembled at the Hebden Village Institute, near Grassington, including 7 members of the national committee, lured north by the sheer variety of the programme.

First was Mike Lea with Kate, who managed to convince his audience that fingerposts are actually worth studying, by showing different Cumbrian styles and amusing anecdotes, supplemented with practical expertise by Duncan Armstrong. Following Mike, (by special request!) Janet Niepokojczycka gave her latest talk “The Packhorse in Art and Literature”, with colourful illustrations ranging from the Luttrell Psalter to Christmas cards, of beasts of burden and their accoutrements. Lively questions were addressed to both speakers.

The lunch break meant a chance to sample Terry Witham’s cakes as well as to view the many displays. One member had brought a halo fingerpost finial that she had been given by a Highways engineer when undertaking refurbishment; those present debated which museum might be a worthy destination and Settle was the preferred choice.

The afternoon session was launched by June Scott with some vivid coaching tales including insights from ‘Pickwick Papers’ then Jeremy Howat explained how the Ryedale project had been such a successful collaboration. Rounding up the day, Christine Minto set a quiz based on the recent OTG and Newsletter, which caused much merriment as well as blank looks – won by Richard Heywood with just 12 out of a possible 20 marks!

Next year’s meeting will be on Sunday April 15, put the date in your diary now…