Chris and Glenda would like to wish all who read our blog a Happy Christmas.
|We have been selling our tups at Kirkby Stephen Auction Mart today and it was time to say goodbye to Goliath.|
He looked very fine indeed and there was plenty of interest in him.
He's been bought by a farmer in Lunedale, Co Durham.
We hope he does well for his new owner and sires lots of good lambs next spring.
|All Swaledale Tups have to be registered with the Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association. Every year the tup shearlings are inspected as being correct and tagged. This is known as Crowning.|
|Remember Goliath, the giant tup lamb, born two years ago? Well this is him being looked over by the crowners at Hoggarths today. He is still a bigger than the rest. He will be sold at the Tup Sales in October and I have high hopes for him.|
|Crowning goes on all over North Yorkshire, Cumbria & Co Durham but it is only here at the very top of Swaledale that the tradition of 'following on' still happens. Farmers go from farm to farm following the crowners. It gives those that follow a sneak preview of the standard of tups that will be coming up for sale in the autumn. It is also an opportunity to do a bit of marketing, explaining the tups breeding and pointing out its strengths. Good head, good legs, good bone, good sort, no sweat - in other words they have to be GOOD!|
|As you can see from the number of vehicles in the yard, there was a good following today.|
|We have taken a crop of silage from some land we take in Teesdale. It was baled on site and then transported by lorry back to Pry House Farm.|
|Because our loader tractor was over in Teesdale, our neighbour came to get the bales off the wagon for us.|
|When it is wrapped in several layers of silage wrap (keeping it air tight) it can be stacked outside until it is needed for the sheep and cows during the winter.|
|Not the most convenient place in the world to get a puncture on the tractor!|
|In a close community like ours, we can always rely on good neighbours to lend a hand and Gary from Little Birkdale came straight away to help remove the punctured wheel.|
|Here comes the cavalry!|
|Our day started early with the first car arriving to park at the farm at 5 30 a.m.|
|Family & farming friends (six quad bikes in total!) joined us for a memorable ride over the moors to the Buttertubs Pass.|
|There were tens of thousands of people in the dale and a carnival atmosphere prevailed throughout the weekend|
|A parade of floats, cars and motorbikes came first .....|
|and then the cyclists (pelaton)|
|They simply flew past and so close together, it was all over in a flash!|
Throughout the TdF weekend a rota of volunteers manned the Countryside & Heritage Centre in Keld.
|Scilla demonstrated weaving on her hand loom and Majorie demonstrated hand spinning.|
It was a busy time for everyone but a truly memorable one and will go down in Swaledale's history as a great success.
|The ring ouzel looks very similar to a blackbird but has a distinctive white bib.|
|At first just Chris & I were going to take a bike and make our way across the fells to the Buttertubs Pass to watch the Tour de France cycle race .......|
|...but word got out and soon Le Gran Depart turned into a Grand Day Out!|
|Several Oyster Catchers - my favourites. I love their bright orange beaks and legs and their sharply defined black & white plumage.|
|A tiny lapwing chick. Its mother is never far away and is very protective if other birds get too close.|
A female Snipe and her young brood ( a bit camera shy!)
Other visitors include Curlew, Redshank, Starling and Wagtail but the most special sight of all is when three brown hares come out of the long grass and dance on the newly mown ground. Its a wonderful sight and one that I would love to catch on camera.
There will be no cycle race next year to give us cause to cut a strip of the field so early but I think it will happen. Its like having Springwatch outside the window.