THERE is a fine line between staring and supporting, one is quite frankly rude the other is a gesture that can be of great help. So for parts of the Yorkshire Dales battered by the unprecedented freak storm of last week it’s a double edged sword. Some are still clearing up, many homes have been flooded, it’s heartbreaking. Spectator was there this week recording the stories, the triumphs and the sadnesses, and it’s a difficult line to tread, trying not to intrude but making sure the reality of the situation and the need for help is acknowledged.

And this is the busiest time of the year for the tourist industry which largely keeps the Dales a living, working place. So we have to be guided by the locals who are keen for people to go, to support the businesses, the shops and the economy. Many parts are not affected and for the ones that are when they say they’re open that’s good enough for Spectator. So we urge people to hop on their bikes, fasten up the walking boots and get in their cars, ensuring of course that they take notice of the signs and information about closed roads and diversions. It is true it’s not so easy to get to Reeth and Upper Swaledale especially, although stalwart work is being done by North Yorkshire highways to get washed away bridges and roads repaired. A few extra miles and a bit of patience doesn’t seem too much to ask to ensure the future of our fabulous Dales.

The weather is a whole other ball game, who can say what that might throw, no one predicated the sheer astonishing mayhem of the freak storm. Residents are keeping a weather eye on any gathering dark clouds for very understandable reasons, but Spectator says go, be prepared and give them the support they need while making sure not to stare.