Yes, This Is Britain’s Happiest Place. (It Looks Beautiful in the Rain.)

Yes, This Is Britain’s Happiest Place. (It Looks Beautiful in the Rain.)

But most of those who live here (those who came from elsewhere are known as “offcumdens”) agree that the sense of community is what stands out.

Danielle Daglan, venue and program manager at the town hall, moved to Skipton in 2002. She said it was the best decision she ever made.

“I feel that Yorkshire has allowed me — without being too cheesy — to become the person I wanted to be,” she said, adding that the people “are genuinely friendlier than they are down south.”

No one lives here for the weather, however. Mr. Rankine, the mayor, said a sunny day “has been known to happen occasionally.”

Fortunately, he added, “Skipton is one of those places which is absolutely beautiful in the rain — as long as you are dressed appropriately.”

Simon Myers, a retired lawyer who serves on Craven District Council, recalled standing outside his home on a day when it was raining so hard that the hill opposite was invisible, then turning to his neighbor and saying, “Do remind me it’s the views that we live here for.”

Craven is an affluent pocket of the north, though not the richest place in the country. To Mr. Myers, that illustrates that wealth and happiness are not synonymous.

“I think it’s about being self-sufficient, valuing your communities, and doing your bit and mucking in together,” he said. “It isn’t because we can afford fancy cars.”

This being Yorkshire, not everyone is buying the notion of Craven as Shangri-La.

“It’s not as wonderful as those who make these claims for it say,” said Mr. Routledge, sipping a pint of local beer, which, incidentally, is roughly half the price of a pint in London.

“The traffic is appalling, there are not enough places to park and it’s too expensive,” he said. “The bus services have been cut back, and it’s a honey pot for commuters into Leeds and Bradford, so a lot of local people can’t afford to live here.”

Mr. Routledge, who lives a few miles away, has ruffled feathers by describing Skipton as “snooty” — a word its residents tend to reserve for a nearby upmarket town, Harrogate.

But the inhabitants of Craven seem to be happy with the way they are even if, to some outsiders, that can appear glum.

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