Tuesday 28 March 2017

The Big Spring Clean for the New Season

As spring approaches Bed & Breakfast establishments and holiday cottage owners go into overdrive getting their properties spick and span for the beginning of the holiday season.

Pry House Farm B&B and Hillcrest Holiday Cottage are no exception. 

In January we started by refitting my 'working kitchen' with new units and tiles. The cooker was repositioned onto the outside wall so that extraction is directed outside.
 Love my new kitchen.  
Lots more worktop space for dishing up delicious breakfasts, light, bright and spacious.

 Last week David the decorator arrived to paint the lounge, twin bedroom, little kitchen ....

then a visit from Ian from Ecodry Carpet Car to clean the carpets.

In addition there is a multitude of smaller tasks to tick off the list such as boiler service, fire risk assessments, chimney sweep but finally just as the clocks go forward we are ready to go.

Sunday 26 March 2017

Counting Cow Houses

Counting Cow Houses

As part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park project, Every Barn Tells a Story, 
I have been asked to look into the possibility of creating a children's guided walk leaflet 
to highlight the cowus'es in Muker Parish. 

I walked the path out of Muker towards Kisdon.  It was the most perfect March day imaginable; 
wall to wall sunshine, the bluest of skies and not a breathe of wind. 

I soon realised there was far too many Cow Houses to comfortably count.  There are dozens and dozens of them, as far as the eye can see and in every direction.  So I decided to concentrate on the ones closest to the path.

At Kisdon Houses instead of walking forward and over the hill to Keld ....

...... turn left and follow the Pennine Way to Thwaite.

The Cowus'es come in every shape and size and some like this one 
really take your breath away.
Whilst taking a break from exploring I noticed someone else taking in the view!

 In parts the path is rough and here the water crosses, possibly deliberately damned 
to form a water place for sheep and cattle.

 After negotiating the steep, rough and narrow sheep track through the heather moor, 
drop down into Thwaite, turn left .......
...... and follow Straw Beck along the valley bottom crossing over 
the prettiest little bridge you have ever seen.
 And still more Cow Houses! 
 This was one of my favourites - 
such a sweet little building complete with shelter wall.
And finally back to Muker village.  
Is this a cowus attached to the cottage or some other type of farm building?  
Something for me to find out.  And how many Cow Houses were there?
Come and find out for yourself.  You'll need more than ten fingers and ten toes!! 

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Weird & Wonderful White Weather!

We woke up this morning to a white wonderland more typical of Christmas 
than the yellow nodding daffodils of Spring.

The washing line becomes snow streamers across the yard.

A frilly border adorns the tops of the garden railings.
No need for fancy. blurring camera techniques on a day like today - the weather does it all for me!

A ray of sunshine yellow amidst the unseasonal snowy weather.

Monday 13 March 2017


Shepherd's Hut Progress Report

Slowly but steadily the Shepherds Hut is near completion.  There are a couple of shelves to go up, some pictures to hang and a few finishing touches but inside its nearly there.  
The fold down table is genius and .......

....... the little 1950s style kitchen unit has cupboards, drawer and worktop.  Just perfect!

Despite the fact that there are still jobs to do outside, the view doesn't change.
This post is a preview for my gallery, blog and facebook followers.  
More to follow as progress is made. 
My aim is to have people to stay from early May Bank Holiday weekend and as soon as humanly possible there will be a Shepherd's Hut page on my website www.upperswaledaleholidays.co.uk 
Nothing like a deadline to spur me on!

Sunday 12 March 2017

Low Greendale Cow House & Wamp Bridge

Low Greendale Cow House and Wamp Bridge

Pry House has dozens of Cow Houses (pronounced Cowus) dotted all over the farm. 
Low Greendale Cowus sits down by the River Swale close to a beautifully made bridge 
called Wamp Bridge.  On the other side of the bridge the pasture is known as Wamp.

Next to the cowus is a walled enclosure that may, once upon a time, have been a vegetable plot.
It is a long way from Pry House but it is in a very sheltered position and being beside the river the soil is well drained so, all things considered, perhaps not a bad place to grow vegetables after all?

If you would like to find out more about the cowuses of Upper Swaledale the Yorkshire Dales National Park has a new project called Every Barn Tells A Story that looks into the architecture, social history and working practices surrounding the Cowuses in Muker Parish.
For the full story see pages 54 & 55 in the YDNP Visitor 2017 magazine 
or visit everybarn.wordpress.com

Photography Workshop at Pry House Farm

Last week Pry House Farm hosted its first Photography Workshop.

The day began around the farmhouse kitchen table with coffee and chat giving everyone a chance to get to know one another and to relax.  Ian Short, the professional photographer who led the day, gave hints and tips on composition and what makes a good photograph before setting off with the group into the Swaledale landscape for lots of practise.

Ian chose a variety of locations including the wild, untamed open fell .......

and the River Swale and its waterfalls.

Then back to Pry House to look at the results of the day and to see how 
the various techniques Ian had shared with the group, impacted on their photography.
At the end of the day help is at hand as Ian offers post workshop support 
either by email or telephone.
For details of our Bed & Breakfast Photography package please visit
You don't have to stay B&B to take part, just come for the day - everyone welcome.

Sunday 5 March 2017

Keld - A breath of fresh air

When an opportunity arises in Keld the local residents certainly know how to fill it!  Sleeves rolled up and rollers to the ready they soon gave the Public Hall Reading Room a new lease of life.  A quick clean, a fresh coat of paint, some tastefully mounted artwork and furniture rearranged, the room has been transformed into a welcome 'pop-up tearoom'.

Keld Public Hall, in the centre of the village, has made the perfect self-service winter tearoom and is raising welcome funds for the Public Hall but more importantly and what has come as a surprise to all involved is the warm, friendly atmosphere that is evident the moment you walk in.  Fellow walkers sit and chat and compare notes on where they have been, the sights & sounds, the conditions underfoot and inevitably the WEATHER! 
No wifi, 3G, mobile reception or any such technological distraction.  No heads bowed, no eyes lowered, no thumbs twitching just plain, old fashioned conversation. 
Keld is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one!


Thursday 2 March 2017

Men at Work!

After months of looking unloved the bridge in Thwaite is finally being repaired.
The further up the dale you go, the narrower the bridges become.  Almost all of them are on 
a sharp bend as the road turns to cross the River Swale.  Damage is caused when 
large lorries, trying to avoid the A66 (but why?) come through Swaledale 
often in the middle of the night, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

Hopefully it won't be long before the council come and start to piece back together
Hoggarths bridge which took a hell of a knock last year.

Oh! What A Beautiful Morning.

Next Thursday is the first of the photography workshops from Pry House Farm.  
 Here's hoping the weather and light is as wonderful as it is this morning.
If you are up and about before the shepherd then you get a guarenteed audience.
This is who they really wanted to see!

The tops of the highest fells are solid white today.

Looking towards home and the lower green pastures of Upper Swaledale.