Monday 22 December 2014

Christmas 2015 at Pry House

Chris and Glenda would like to wish all who read our blog a Happy Christmas.

Swaledale at its Wildest

Its been a wild and wet day up at Pry House.  At daybreak the River Swale was high and raging.  All day the driving wind has sent horizontal curtains of rain down the dale and the river has continued to rise steadily.  It could easily burst its banks if the rain doesn't ease soon.

Monday 15 December 2014

Tup in't Yard

 Tup in't yard, what is he up to?  

Warm shelter and a bite of tea?  OR  Another night under the stars sniffing out a new bride?

After several weeks on the rampage, sowing his wild oats with many a lady sheep this tup chooses the 'pipe and slipper' option and puts himself to bed!

Even the most hot blooded males need the occasional quiet night in!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Farmhouse Kitchen

Our weather changes so quickly at the head of the dale.  Yesterday bright and beautiful, today not fit for man nor beast.  The wind has howled and the rain lashed all day so instead it is a case of being productive indoors.  Mince pies are in the freezer, scones made for tea, a pan of soup ready to help warm up frozen husband when he finally comes in and all brass polished.
A good day's work.

Monday 8 December 2014

First Snow

The first snow of 2014
Upper Swaledale looking beautiful as she dons her mantle of winter white.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Sundown, rolling mist but was I on my own?

Looking west as the sun sets and ......

the mist rolls in, low and enchanting.

But what or who is this?

Thursday 16 October 2014

Goodbye Goliath

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.

Wednesday 17 September 2014


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.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Make Silage While the Sun Shines

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.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Road Sign of the Year Award

Somewhere In Swaledale

I wouldn't normally condone graffiti but for 'smile value' alone this gets my vote every time!

Friday 22 August 2014

What a place for a tractor puncture!

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!

Sunday 17 August 2014

Reeth Young Farmers Tractor Run

 This is the third tractor run Chris has taken part in this year.  Reeth Young Farmers organised today's tractor rally and a number of old and new tractors set off from Reeth village green this morning in glorious sunshine and excellent spirits.
 Man & machine both ready for a good day out.
Have tractor - will travel!

Wednesday 6 August 2014


Beautiful evening in Upper Swaledale and the gill opposite Pry House Farm is in sharp shadow.

Monday 21 July 2014

When the Tour de France came to Swaledale

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.

Chris took his vintage Massey 35 as an added attraction.

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.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Looking West

From Pry House, looking west towards Sledale and the source of the Swale

Bird Watching Paradise

Every day dozens of different species of wild birds visit Pry House Farm; curlew, lapwing, redshank, oyster catches, starling, wagtail, house martin, barn owls are all frequent visitors but the rarest so far has been a pair of ring ouzel feeding on the home field.
The ring ouzel looks very similar to a blackbird but has a distinctive white bib.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Le Gran Depart was a Grand Day Out.

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!

Monday 30 June 2014

Pry House - all dressed up for Tour de France

 Tour de France is coming to Swaledale.
Only four day to go to and counting!  Bunting is up and tubs all planted yellow ......

cycling sheep, yellow bikes .....
We are ready and can't wait for Saturday to arrive.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Pry House Farm Nature Reserve

Because the Tour de France is happening next weekend and we are expecting some people might want to camp at our farm Chris has cut a swathe of grass from the meadow in front of the house. To our surprise it has attracted lots of wildlife which we know is there but rarely get to observe at such close quarters.  
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.