Saturday 22 June 2019

Twins, Herdies and Pet Lambs

We may have finished lambing weeks ago but there's still daily checking and looking after required.

Ewes with twins in our low fields get sugar beet every day and are counted to make sure none are missing or ailing.

My herdy lambs are in the low fields and like the Swaledale lambs are beginning to eat cake too.

 However unlike the Swaledale lambs who hardly alter in appearance, the herdwick lambs change very quickly and develop a white mask-like face and grey legs.  Marco is changing faster than the gimmer twins who are still quite black except for their white tipped ears!

Pet lambs are part and parcel of lambing time and are a great source of delight to friends who like to come and bottle feed them.

Not all sheep are able to rear their lambs particularly if they have twins. Occasionally we have to take one away and it becomes a 'pet lamb'. Similarly not all lambs survive either.  When this happens we quickly 'mother on' a pet lambs so that the ewe has a lamb to raise.  This year however we have been left with three pet lambs that didn't get a mother.  I have called them the Three Musketeers!

Today, as the sun shone warm and bright, we put them in the little field by the house.  They have a lean-to shed where they can shelter and they will get milk and lamb pellets to supplement all that beautiful meadow grass!  I have reared pet lambs before (they were the Three Amigos) and they get up to all sorts of mischief.  Why?  No mum to keep them in order.  Watch this space!

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Ruins, remains and all things abandoned

Coming to walk in Swaledale?  Coming for the scenery, the wildlife and the meadows?
Its all here in abundance and you won't be disappointed however what's been left here from a time when life in the dale was very different to how it is today? When life was hard, when it was a struggle.  When work was dangerous and dark and difficult with little reward.

The legacy of the lead mining industry at Swinner Gill.
There are many lead mining buildings to explore in Swaledale.  The Swinner Gill ruins are up a steep climb on the C2C path out of Keld.  Fascinating and thought provoking when you realise the men (and boys?) had this arduous trek every day.    
Old Gang and Surrender can be found on the road between Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. Take the road up the side of the Punchbowl Inn in Low Row. 

Crackpot Hall is probably the most well known abandoned ruin in Upper Swaledale.  On the walk between Keld and Muker take the track up and away from the skeleton tractor which has been left abandoned to be slowly reclaimed by the earth.

The name Crackpot Hall sounds very grand but it is in fact no more than a very large farmhouse. It is however a feast for the imagination triggering a mind-boggling overload of questions ...Who lived here?  Why did they leave? What was life like in such a remote location with no electricity, running water or access road?  Its a place that children adore.  Bring the family.  There is plenty published about Crackpot Hall and even recorded for radio on BBC3 Alice at Crackpot 

On the opposite side of the river Swale is the abandoned hamlet of Harklakes once occupied by lead miners, small holders and farmers.

On the outside there's evidence of a single story porch now long gone. Peep inside and see the cramped living conditions, the fireplace (what did they burn, peat or coal?), a stone staircase, rough sorn beams, stone shelves and lime washed walls.

Stumbling across these abandoned dwellings is a source of great wonderment.  If they fire your curiosity visit the Swaledale Museum in Reeth the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes both rich with artifacts and information.