Friday 22 January 2021

Seasons on the Hill Farm

 Seasons on the Hill Farm by David Ian Short

A photographic view of the work and lives of a farming family in a North Yorkshire dale.

Ian Short is a well known photographer based in Richmond.  He runs photography courses for experts and beginners and often brings his students to Birkdale   

It has been an ambition of Ian's to create a photographic book of Birkdale and Upper Swaledale showcasing our beautiful dale through the seasons.  For a few years Ian has shadowed Chris, Raymond and Andrew as they have gone about their work on the farm, in the meadows & pastures and on the moor.  He has taken photographs at Tan Hill Show, Muker Show and the auction marts.  Seasons on the Hill Farm features over 200 photographs and covers all aspects of hill farming life in the upper dale.  

In addition Ian has captured the dramatic, unspoilt beauty of Upper Swaledale; the changing colours of the seasons, the visiting wildlife, the waterfalls and wild flowers.

Printed on top quality paper and elegantly bound, Season on the Hill Farm costs £15.00 plus postage & packing.  The book is being sold on a not-for-profit basis with all monies made being donated to charities that will benefit the dale.  If you would like a copy please email

Seasons on the Hill Farm is the realisation of Ian Short's dream. In part the Calvert family have enabled that however I firmly believe that it is the Calverts who are the winners.  Seasons on the Hill Farm is a tribute to our work and way of life and legacy for generations of Calverts to come.  Thank you, Ian.    

Friday 8 January 2021

The winter of 1979 and a remarkable rescue

 The Winter of 1979

People talk about the bad winters of 1947 and 1979 when it snowed for weeks or even months on end. The winter of 1979 is the most memorable for the present generation and it is the year of a remarkable rescue of two young Dutchmen by Clifford Harker who lived and farmed at Pry House Farm at that time.

Today (8/01/2021) I have been on the moor with Chris to feed the White Spots heft of yows where the rescue took place. The photo above shows the remains of the 2 hay stores that were pivotal to the story. The corrugated roof in the foreground is all that remains of the hay store where Clifford was getting hay for his sheep. The old railway hut beyond was where the two young men were sheltering having got their car stuck in a snow drift close to Tailbrigg Hill. When Clifford came across them the younger man was not in good shape but there was no alternative but to walk the three & a half miles back to Pry House Farm - no 4 wheel drive tractors or quad bikes in those days.

As I travelled back to the farm in the safety of our tractor I marvelled at the toughness and the sheer strength of character of the farmers of that generation who walked for miles to tend their stock every day no matter what the weather threw at them. In the winter of 1979 Chris remembers walking onto the moor with his father to feed the sheep for 23 consecutive days, the road being unpassable by vehicles of the day. It is without doubt that Clifford's dedication to the welfare of his sheep resulted in two lives being saved.

For the full story click here

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Locked down, Snowed in but not Down & Out!

 A walk on the wild & wintery side to Birkdale Tarn

'When you're down and troubled' ..... 'take a walk on the wild side'.

Mixed lyrics but not a mixed message - walking is such a good tonic

Birkdale Tarn, remote and frozen.  I didn't test the ice.  I didn't even go down to the waters edge.  I'd already waded through snow drifts that almost stole my wellies so I was taking no chances.  The day was calm & still but the risk of snow coming from nowhere was ever present and I was on my own. 

So reluctantly I turned and headed back, following my footprints until home came into view.