Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Raging River

There's a lot of water in the beck today!

The River Swale rises very quickly fed by water flowing off the fells & scars.
It flows fast and furious and is dizzying to watch.
Its dangerous yet beautiful at the same time.
The heavy rain has created spectacular waterfalls.
Keld is home to at least nine significant waterfalls.  
Pick up a Waterfall Walk leaflet from the Keld Countryside & Heritage Centre 
or visit

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Learning How To Handle a Hay Rake

As a thank you to the children for all their hard work producing drawings, paintings & collage
 for the new Cow House Children's Guided Walk leaflet they were invited to come to Pry House Farm for an afternoon in the hay field followed by a traditional hay time tea.

 Chris shows the children how to turn the hay.

 Then it was time to 'row up' and it was all hands to the rakes!
and finally making 'foot cocks' and 'jockeys'.
Handling a hay rake correctly and efficiently is hard work and not as easy as it looks.
Everyone had a go, they worked hard and definitely earned their tea!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

From my kitchen window this morning

An early morning sunray highlights the plumage of
the delightful little Meadow Pipet.

Born Free

I love to see our cows out on the moor but when they wander onto the road side
 and take up residence, I often wonder what visitors to the top of the dale think, when they round a corner to find several large bovine either on or very close to the highway!

We have had several calves born outside on the open moor this year. 

The little brown one is the youngest.

Grazing on some sweet grass on the roadside.

Lunch on tap!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Heather Hills

Vibrant purple heather with Hilltop in the background.

Exploring the many waterfalls at the top of Hoggarth's Gill

Spying on the neighbours.  Hey-there Smithyholme!

Iron gate at top of Hoggarth's Cow Pasture

Purple heather in profusion.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Wool filled pillows from the Woolroom

A huge delivery of products from the Woolroom arrived at Pry House Farm today.
Wool is nature's miracle fibre; never too hot and never too cold.
I buy from the Woolroom in Ipswich which is run by Bob the Shepherd and his wife, Nicky.  What better endorsement could you ask for? A Suffolk Shepherd and a hill farmer's wife from Swaledale!

The pillows & duvet in the Shepherd's Hut have always been wool but now Woolroom products can be found in the bed & breakfast and Hillcrest Holiday Cottage.

Everything from the Woolroom comes in its own strong, linen bag which after some ingenious disguise by a clever friend of mine now make perfect storage bags ......
 .......... and at the same time provide extra cushions for the daybed. 

  The pillows are adjustable;  too firm - remove some filling, too soft - add a bit more. They regulate the temperature so no more waking up feeling hot and having to turn the pillow over to the cool side.
They are completely washable too.  If they help my guests sleep well then I will be happy.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A Yorkshire Shepherd on Camera

The Yorkshire Dales National Parks 'Every Barn Cowus Tells A Story Project' is well under way and several local people have been chosen to tell their stories and share their experiences of what life was like when the Cow Houses were in use on a daily basis.

 Chris has many memories of working with stock in Cow Houses and Hogg Houses at Hoggarths, Harkers, Firs and Thorns.  Here he is getting 'mic-ed up' ready to be interviewed.
 From an early age Chris helped his father on the farm and when he left school he wanted nothing else than to be a farmer.  On a daily basis, throughout the long winter months he helped fodder the stock in these off-buildings known in Upper Swaledale as Cowus' and Hogg Houses.
 Sussing out the location of one of Chris' stories with the film maker.
Firs Hogg House stands at approx 1400ft above sea level and is where, in the winter of 1979, Chris and his dad and their neighbour and his hired man where 'holed up' for several hours sheltering from a snow storm.  Firs hogg house is less than a mile from Hoggarths (we can see it from Pry House) but the weather was so severe and visibility so bad it wasn't safe to walk back to Hoggarths along the road for fear of getting lost so they made their way down the pasture to the River Swale in the bottom and followed the river, crossed the bridge and finally walked back up the house.

Filming at Harkers Cow House and Hay Mew.
I was asked by the YDNParks to interview people who had memories to share and to get their stories on tape.  I talked with over 25 people; present residents of the dale and those who now live far away.  It has been a marvellous project to be involved in, hugely interesting and I have learnt such a lot.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Decorating a Cow House for YDNParks Every Barn Tells A Story Project

All the children in Muker Parish have been invited to take part in 
a project about the cowus' that are dotted all over the Swaledale landscape.

Today the very youngest children came to Pry House Farm to decorate a Cowus.

 Jessica (3) makes the hay meadow and James (3) glues material to make the quoins
(the large corner stones).

When the slates were on the roof, the doors and forking hole made and the meadow finished the children enjoyed a well deserved break.

And as a treat for all their hard work my old farmyard, animals, tractors
and farm implements came out of storage!
Children never tire of playing with toy tractors and a farmyard.

Friday, 21 July 2017

A Squadron of Oysters Catchers?

What is the collective name for a group of Oyster Catchers?  
Is there such a thing?

Confident, cocky little creatures.  Stocky and robotic looking.
Never in a hurry to fly away,almost daring you to come closer
whilst all the time watching you with one, orange, beady eye!

 But when they do take flight its so effortless and so elegant;  
the RAF of the bird world.

 They are my favourite.  Can you tell!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Checking The Power Poles

I've been in a helicopter once.  Its was a wonderful experience.

Every year these guys come along to check the electricity poles and tranformers.
And every year I wonder if they will land in home field and take me up for a spin!

 But they flew off towards Firs and Stone House without a backward glance ....
Oh well, there's always next year!!


Hillcrest's Gorgeous Garden

Everything is looking lovely in the garden at Hillcrest.

It has been so hot the heat makes the hills look hazy but its been glorious.

Its good to see our guests have been taking advantage of the outdoor table and chairs that we have recently added at Hillcrest.  Alfresco breakfast or morning coffee in the sunshine perhaps?
 Lavender, Thyme, Foxgloves, Roses, Hydrangeas, Anemones;  
Hillcrest's garden is awash with colour and scent.

When the Weather is Your Friend ...... Part 3


Hill farmers with stock on the high fells still need small bale hay.  There are lots of places on the moor that can't be accessed by tractor so small bales are a life-line to many of our sheep in winter.

Hay time is a team effort.  
With good modern tractors it runs like a well oiled machine with each man and each tractor playing its role in making and bringing the harvest home.

Ray rows up and Chris stacks the bales off the field using a 8-grab.

 The grass is dry and fluffy and makes good, nutritious, sweet-smelling hay.

Nobody will rest until 'all is safely gathered in'.

When the Weather is Your Friend ..... Part 2


 The shadows may lengthen but the work goes on.