Friday, 8 June 2018

Muker Meadows - the Jewel in the Crown

Muker meadows have to be the Yorkshire Dales jewel in the crown.
At this very moment they are simply spectacular, a paintbox of colour.

It is not surprising that they were awarded coronation status by Prince Charles 
to mark 60 years of the Queen's coronation.  

There is an abundance of wildflowers including yellow rattle, ladies mantle, rough hawkbit and more but it is the swathes of purple wood cranes-bill against lacy white pignut that creates the artist's palate.

 My favourite time of day to visit the meadows is early evening.  It is quiet and still and last of the day's sun shows the meadows in their best light.  There may be one of two people leaving but only me going in - just how I like it!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Big Birthday, Big Toys, Big Fund Raiser

We have had a week of tractor fun!
Last week Chris turned 60 and he chose to go on a three pub tractor run with his farming friends, cousins, brother and nephew.






The Farmer Arms in Muker was one 
of the pub stops
Then on Sunday 27th May was our bi-annual Keld Charity Tractor Run. 
This year we chose to support 
the Motor Neurone Associaton and raised over £1000.

Forty three tractor of all shapes and sizes, colours and vintage set off from Keld.

Rising up out of Gunnerside, out onto the open moor ....

... and to the top of the world!
The day couldn't have been better.  Thanks to everyone for their support. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Wild flowers on parade.

The sun has been shining for days and the temperatures are rising which has triggered 
an explosion of wild flowers of every description up and down the dale.

Everywhere pale froths of Forget-me-nots mix with cool white wild garlic...

whilst whole orchestras of Bluebells stand patiently awaiting the conductors baton.

And Hawthorn blossom, as delicate as a bride's veil, adds serenity to the scene.
At last it seems we have turned the corner, spring is here to stay and the harshness of the long cold winter is a fading memory as we all enjoy & appreciate the warm sunshine. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Lambing Round Up 2018

Lambing is almost at an end but not quite. 
It is the same every year, a few sheep keep us hanging on!
But while we are still in lambing mode here are a few photos to round off the lambing season.

I love my Mum!

Grazing together and enjoying the sun on their backs.
Twins have that special bond.
A couple of single lambs born indoors and waiting for a warm day to go outside.


One of the first warm spring days of the year and both sheep and lambs love to relax in the sunshine.





Saturday, 12 May 2018

Springtime in Upper Swaledale

Its been a long time coming but finally it feels like spring has arrived in the dale.

Despite the weather the birds still nest and hatch their chicks.  
Today I stumbled upon two lapwing chicks.  They are tiny and when crouched close to the ground look just like sheep poo!  A strange but effective camouflage.

The flowers are more weather dependant and remain dormant until the sunshine warms the ground. 
 

All the ground nesting birds are experts at camouflage and concealment.  I was very lucky to spot these snipe eggs, deep in a hidden hollow.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Keld Charity Tractor Run 2018

Every other year Chris organises a charity tractor run that takes in some of the the most spectacular scenery in Upper Swaledale.  Chris' chosen charity this year is the Motor Nurone Disease Association


The tractor run takes place on Sunday 27th May.  The tractors assemble in the car park in Keld village.  Grateful thanks go to the Rukin family for the use of their car park and to Barbara for opening the cafe. Bacon sandwiches and cups of tea are 'a must' before any tractor run!  


We are expecting over 40 tractors of all shapes & sizes, both vintage and modern.  The entry fee is £20 per tractor; half goes to the charity and the other half pays for lunch.  This year the lunch stop is at the Black Bull in Reeth.

Raffle tickets are now on sale.  Prizes include a B&B voucher, a stay in a Shepherd's Hut, meat & meal vouchers, baking, bottles etc etc.  The raffle will be drawn at lunchtime.

If you are in the dale on Sunday 27th May and see the tractors driving by please give them a wave or come into Keld in the morning and watch them set off - its quite a sight.  If you would like raffle tickets please get in touch.  Tel: 01748 886845 or email: glenda_calvert@hotmail.co.uk
Thank you

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Swale Trail - family friendly bike trail

The Swale Trail from Keld to Reeth

Swaledale's dramatic & untamed landscape has always been popular with experienced mountain bike riders but what about families and novice cyclists?  Many of the well trodden / well riden paths are too challenging or simply not suitable for the whole family.  
Not any more.  Welcome to the Swale Trail!.

The Swale Trail is a Yorkshire Dales National Park initiative and a huge amount of work has gone into creating the trail and erecting new finger posts.  On Sunday 29th April the route was officially opened and with a group of friends from Keld I took up the challenge to ride the 12 miles from Reeth to Keld.

 As the majority of us had not ridden a bike for decades we decided a little help was sensible and we pedalled our way up the dale on electric bikes courtesy of the Dales Bike Centre in Grinton.
These e-bikes are amazing!  They provide different levels of power depending on the steepness of the incline ahead.  

Myself, Jacqui and Karen are all Bed & Breakfast providers and we are keen to encourage families and young people to come to Upper Swaledale.  How could we possibily 'sell' the Swale Trail if we hadn't done it ourselves?

Almost the entire trail is on bridleways or on largely unused, very quiet lanes.  The Swale Trail can be done in sections depending on ability and age.  At the Reeth end the first few miles are very gentle with some lovely picnic spots by the river where you can skim stones and dangle your feet in the water.

 The section between Gunnerside and Keld becomes more challenging but I'm sure more experienced cyclists would take it easily in their stride. 

I completed the Swale Trail.  I have earned the knowledge and am here to help.
  If you have your own bikes both Pry House B&B and Hillcrest Cottage have secure bike storage and bike washing facilities.  If you haven't I can thoroughly recommend hiring from the Dales Bike Centre.  Come and have a go - you will love it!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Hillcrest Holiday Cottage - Late availability

Due to an unexpected cancellation Hillcrest is available for up to 10 nights 
commencing Saturday 5th May
7 nights at £400 or any 3 or 4 night break at £250


Visit the website at www.upperswaledaleholidays.co.uk for full details and lots more photos.

It certainly is the perfect time to visit Swaledale. The blossom is out, the daffodils are at their best and there are blankets of wild anenomes and banks of primroses up and down the dale.


And the garden at Hillcrest is looking more colourful every day.

 

What better time to give yourself a well earned break?

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Jumping for Joy

The sun has been shining and everywhere you look there is evidence 
that spring is in the air.

Our lambs are just about old enough to gambol & play.

From Reeth to Keld daffodils dance by the roadside ....

and at the water's edge marsh marigold begin to flower.

 
and in every field and pasture lambs, lambs, lambs!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Baby Bonding

All is calm, all is well in the lambing pens today

You can't cosy-up much closer to mum than this pair of twins!

Successfully mothered on.  If you look carefully you can see that this lamb is wearing an extra skin.
The ewe lost her lamb and has been fooled into thinking this lamb (whose natural mother didn't have enough milk) is her own.  She has taken it straight away.  The extra skin will be taken off very soon and the ewe will rear this lamb as her own.

Swaledales are such good mothers, protective and attentive.  
No parenting classes required here!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Lambing time is under way at Pry House Farm



 We are a few days later than usual with our starting date for lambing this year.
Today is our due date for the Pry House lambers and we are out of the starting blocks!
 
 The special care baby unit is already half full although no complications 
just a bit of extra monitoring and lots of TLC.
Another set of twins again born in the building.  As soon as possible we safely pop them into a pen (with their mother) to keep them away from all the other ewes that are still waiting to lamb.
This year we seem to have more sheep than ever in the building - its a bit crowded.  
The weather has been so wet and cold we are trying to keep them inside as long as possible.
Nice for them particularly as there is so little grass this year.

 A single lamb can manage in amongst the sheep. This one has tucked herself under the hay rack!
Showered with hay seeds but safe.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Curlews return to Pry House Farm


It is with great relief that I counted 5 curlews on home field today.  
A very low number; it is not unusual to see 40 or 50 at this time of year, all foraging greedily.


I will monitor numbers carefully in the hope that there is a big increase soon.
(curlew photo - Ian Short Photography)
  The oyster catchers and lapwings have been here for a while.
Spring is a wonderful season.
There's always so much to marvel around the farm.  

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Dales Discovery Day - 17th March

Today, Saturday 17th March, is Dales Discovery Day #DalesDiscoveries.
 What draws you to the Yorkshire Dales?

 A once in a lifetime opportunity?


The unexpected?


The welcome?

Whatever it is, the flags will be out!.