Dalesman Rally

Mankind's technological advances are in no doubt but as yet, no one has been able to design a time machine! However, here at the LPMCC website we can definitely indulge our readers in that fantasy by allowing them to go back in time and experience some of the great rallies of the past.

As an example of this, today we report on the 1976 Dalesman rally organised by the Dean Valley MCC which we can re-visit with a look back at some images from this past event.

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Venue of the meeting: Aysgarth

As reported by Tedd Trett and Les Hobbs, (both unfortunately no longer with us), the venue for the 4th Dalesman meeting of 1976 was the small village of Aysgarth, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This village is around 16 miles south-west of Richmond and about 23 miles west of the county town of Northallerton. Much of the village is built along the main A684 road, with the remainder largely centred around the 19th century parish church of St Andrew and its substantial graveyard.

It was in a field above this ancient church that the rallyists gathered to take part in the Dean Valley MCC summer rally

Despite the noise of the motorbike engines and the nighttime reveries of the participants, surprisingly none of the residents of the nearby cemetery, complained about the noisy parties disturbing the peace of their eternal rest.

A little way outside the village, on the road to Carperby, are the Aysgarth Falls. Many of the rallyists at this 1976 meeting took advantage of this fact and enjoyed a free swim in the waters during those hot days.

What could be more pleasant at a summer rally than a dip in the fresh water of a nearby river

These three-stepped waterfalls, stretched out over nearly a mile, were carved out over time by the River Ure as it flows into the centre of Wensleydale. They've been a tourist attraction for over 200 years and more recently were used as the location for one of the scenes in the 1991 Kevin Costner blockbuster Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

Palmer Flatt Hotel

During the long hot summer days the waters provide a source of enjoyment and fun, but come the evening, other liquids beckon. A short distance from the waterfalls, there proved to be the ideal place to share good beer and party with friends. This was the Palmer Flatt Hotel, as mentioned by Ted and Les.

The Palmer Flatt Hotel

It's said that this ancestral hotel dates back to the time of the Crusades.

No, these are not pilgrims returning from the Holy Land but a merry band from the Denholme & District MCC photographed here in action at the Palmer Flatt Hotel during the Dalesman 1976

The hotel name is derived from its location. It stands on the site of a medieval hospice where pilgrims returning from the Holy Land in poor health were treated. They often brought back palm fronds as a souvenir, earning them the name Palmers, used as a symbol at the time.

The Denholme & District MCC in full rejoicing as one should do on a Saturday evening at a rally

It's also said that the hospice was run by monks from the mysterious brotherhood of the Knights Templar. The hospice allowed the crusaders to recuperate, as those who returned sick needed fresh air and water for their convalescence, amply provided by the falls and the local valleys.

Who do you recognise among this group? We are waiting for your comments with their names or nicknames

In 1854 the Palmer Flatt Hotel was described as: "a roadside inn of truly rural appearance, but possessing excellent lodgings and liquor, for the numerous parties of visitors to the falls, by which it is much frequented during the summer months".

The Denholme & District MCC in the house

This flashback in my virtual time machine to the mid 70s, re-visiting the 4th meeting of the Dalesman ends on this black and white photo. I very much hope that the additional information here is of interest and will enhance the story of that 1976 Dean Valley MCC's summer meeting.

But the story is not over and nor is it complete. I am certain that amongst the readership there will be some who will recognise one or two of the faces here. Hopefully this trip back to that sweet summer of 1976 will jog some memories and entice some of you to tell us more about the faces and the anecdotes from over 50 years ago.

- Jean-Francois Helias

Hover over a face for a name. If it is a person you recognise, click the face to open the Contact Centre so you can tell us who it is.


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