A HIGH dales drifter is preparing for a showdown with objectors over plans to open a Wild West-style riding centre.

The Hungarian cowboy, known to local townsfolk as Django - thought he had it figured out pretty good.

He has already staked his claim on the wild frontier of Swaledale, in North Yorkshire, where he aims to teach city slickers how to ride the range like a cowboy.

But Django, real name Martin Kiss, has a fight on his hands after the plans were shot down by the law - known in these here parts as the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Several settlers whose homesteads overlook his property, in Thwaite, are also unhappy and hope to run his proposals right out of town.

The political refugee's dream is to open a trekking centre at Skeb Skeugh Farm.

But after buying the land, horse trainer Django - named after jazz musician Django Reinhardt - made alterations to a barn for use as a tack room.

He also built a training ring and began living in a caravan on the farm - all without planning permission.

"I had never ridden until I was 36, but after buying my first horse I was galloping bareback within a month," he said.

Django, who left Hungary nearly 20 years ago, happened upon Thwaite by accident during an 18-month horseback tour of Britain.

He was following the Pennine Way on his steed Gipsy - when, most uncowboy-like - he took a wrong turn into the village. Soon after, he met a woman and the couple had a child, Django Junior.

That was six years ago. Since then the couple have separated, but he stayed in Swaledale with his son.

He said: "The only people who have complained are those with second homes or holiday cottages.

"Allowances should be made for people who live and work in the national park. Without farmers and people running small businesses, the dales will die and it will become just an old people's home."

The park authority is due to consider his retrospective planning application at a meeting on Tuesday, which is being recommended for refusal.

But in true Western-style Django says that whatever happens, he will make a fight of it.