Through Peaks and Dales

Through Peaks and Dales – 1982

Mike Donald, Skipton Folk Singer

Please click the tracks below to play on YouTube.

1. Peak Rail
2. Settle to Carlisle Railway
3. Chapel Hatpegs
4. The Folk Singer
5. Big Norman
6. Buxton Flyer
7. Dukes Level
8. Hard Times on the Fell
9. Barnsley Truck Driver
10. Well Dressing Song
11. Tramway Museum Song
12. Super Fortress
13. Riding the Line

Alternatively, please click below to see the full album play list on YouTube.

Mike Donald Folk Singer on YouTube

Settle to Carlisle Railway song, by Mike Donald


Mike Donald – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Sleeve Notes
Bob Siddall – Electric Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Electric Bass, Vocals
Ronnie Smith – Acoustic Guitar, Knees, Vocals
George Glover – Piano, Vocals
John Wright – Drums
Brain Horsfall – Produced and recorded by
Peter Annable – Sleeve Design

Sleeve Notes

PEAK RAIL – The reopening of the Matlock/Buxton Rail route will create an all-weather service or the rural community and ensure a direct link between the East Midlands and the North-West. It will provide employment, leisure activities, a working museum and a route through the magnificent scenery in the spiritual home of the Midland Railway – Derbyshire.

SETTLE/CARLISLE RAILWAY – The construction of the Midland Main line over the Pennines from Settle to Carlisle in 1869-76 was the last heroic piece of railway construction without mechanical aids. It was built almost entirely by navvies, many of whom died from illness, accident and drunken bouts of barefist fighting. The line reaches a height of 1,169 feet above sea level at Aisgill.

CHAPEL HAT PEGS – Written by Bob Siddall to capture the market day atmosphere of Chapel-en-le-Frith. The track features Bob, Ronnie and Mike.

THE FOLKSINGER – A one-man band performing in schools, village halls and hotels throughout the North of England and gathering a wealth of stories to use in the ‘act’.

BIG NORMAN – Norman, Jessie and Austwick really exist. This song is a tribute to my hero Norman, master mechanic and organist and to the best bacon butty maker in Yorkshire – Jessie.

BUXTON FLYER – Written by Bob Siddall with the Peak Rail Line in mind. A short train of one or two coaches ran along Ashwood Dale between Buxton and Millers Dale to connect with the Manchester Central – Derby – London St. Pancras expresses. The track features Bob and Mike.

DUKE’S LEVEL – A deep drainage level started by Mr. Flint, The Duke of Devonshire’s mineral agent in 1796 in Grassington. The scheme was redesigned by John Taylor, the Cornish engineer in 1818. The song was inspired by the walk from Hebden Gill to the Yarnbury lead mines.

HARD TIMES ON THE FELL – It is often said that to have survived the Pennine farm in the winter you must have been born on one. The song was written whilst picnicking at a Greenhow Lead mine in mid-summer!

BARNSLEY TRUCK DRIVER – The country music scene has produced an array of truck driving heroes culminating in the American film ‘Convoy’. In our song the flatcap and wellie have replaced the traditional Stetson and cowboy boot to produce the Pennine version of the legend.

WELL DRESSING SONG – Well dressing is an ancient craft and Christian Festival which has survived in Derbyshire. Villagers prepare, on boards of clay, pictures of biblical, local or topical scenes from a variety of natural materials including leaves, flower petals, seeds, stones and skins. A beautiful craft providing a glimpse into the life of old England.

TRAMWAY MUSEUM SONG – The National Tramway Museum is based at Crich, Derbyshire, on the site of a former mineral railway built by George Stephenson. The Museum houses 50 tramcars – horse, steam and electric. The song was written after a visit to the Museum and studying photographs of passengers in period costumes.

SUPER FORTRESS – The Pennine Chain is a graveyard for crashed aircraft. There are 5 unknown aircraft crash sites in the Dark Peak area, Super Fortress B29 16th Photographic reconnaissance Squadron U.S.A.F. crashed 3rd November 1948 at higher Shelf Stones – Shelf Moor – Derbyshire.

RIDING THE LINE – Railway journeys have their own special fascination, particularly when travelling through spectacular scenery. Full appreciation of any area is best achieved on foot or by train.

Mike Donald was a professional entertainer and songwriter well known for his songs with a north country flavour. He appeared regularly on radio and T.V. and was well known for his work in schools. Mike took his one man show to hotels, theatres and village halls, both in the U.K. and abroad. He made several records including “Folktrain”,” Yorkshire Songs of the Broad Acres”, “North by North East”, “A Bug’s Eye View” and “Railriders”. He contributed to many folk song publications, wrote a children’s story book “The Heather Book Adventures” and had several songbooks published – “Travelling the Northern Road”, “North by North East” and “River, Moor and Coast”.

Mike lived in Skipton, North Yorkshire – ‘Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’ and passed away in 1984 at the age of 41.

Bob Siddall met Mike at a recording session in Manchester in 1970 and from then they collaborated on various projects. Bob wrote some of the music on this record and claimed to have suffered Mike Donald’s jokes and monologues longer than anyone else, a fact hotly disputed by Mike’s wife, Pauline!

Thanks are due to George Glover, John Wright, Ronnie Smith, Brain Horsfall, Peter Annable and Royce Warner for their encouragement and good humour. Thanks to Pauline for the typing and Molly for the Coffee.

Record Label

Peak Railway Society Limited


A Peak Rail – Written by Mike Donald and Bob Siddall
Settle / Carlisle Railway – Written by Mike Donald
Chapel Hatpegs – Written by Bob Siddall
The Folksinger – Written by Mike Donald
Big Norman – Written by Mike Donald
Buxton Flyer – Written by Bob Siddall
Dukes Level – Written by Mike Donald
Hard Times On The Fell – Written by Mike Donald and Bob Siddall
Barnsley Truck Driver – Written by Mike Donald and Bob Siddall
Well Dressing Song – Written by Mike Donald
Tramway Museum Song – Written by Mike Donald
Super Fortress – Written by Mike Donald
Riding The Line – Written by Mike Donald


Label – A Peak Railway Society Limited ‎– PR 001
Format – Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country – UK
Released – 1982
Genre – Folk, World, & Country
Style – Folk

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