Monday 19 December 2022

Dreaming of a White Christmas?

 Dreaming of a White Christmas?

Be careful what you wish for!

On Saturday morning (17th December 2022) we woke up to about 8 inches of snow.  It had been a wild night with the wind plastering the snow to every vertical surface and leaving a deep layer on roads, paths, wall tops and even the washing line!

By breakfast time the electricity went off and we were left without power for 14 hours.

We kept the log burner well fed with logs & coal all day and had plenty candles at the ready as it was dark by 4:30!  We were able to heat water in a kettle on top of the log burner but otherwise it was sandwiches and cheese & biscuits!

The sheep of course are oblivious to power cuts but are very aware that a heavy fall of snow compromises their food source. On days like this Chris spends daylight hours feeding endless hungry mouths.  No sooner has he got round them all and its time to set off again to give them more feed before dark.

The electricity was restored through the night.  It was wonderful to have the central heating on and electric light, electric kettle and cooker.  You can keep the good old days!  Then the freezing rain arrived and the views were obscured. It was like looking through bathroom glass!

I'm hoping that we have had our 'white Christmas' early and we can get back to normal very soon.  Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.  Stay safe, well and happy.  

With every good wish for the festive season ~ from Chris & Glenda, Pry House Farm, Keld 

Sunday 30 October 2022

The Seasons of the Year at Pry House Farm B&B

 Which is your favourite time to stay on the farm ?

Pry House Farm Bed & Breakfast

At Pry House Farm we welcome guests into our home from mid April to the end of October.  We close in winter - you'll see why!


and that means new life on the farm

At the head of the dale spring comes late.  The winters are long here which is why we have a shorter B&B season than most.  Because spring come late, our grass is slow to grow. Sometimes the weather is unkind so we don't start lambing until mid April.  Up here in the hills, it would be foolish to start sooner.

Some lambs are born indoors in the buildings close to the house.  Seeing a lamb being born never fails to astonish and amaze.  Our Swaledale sheep make very good mothers and bond with their new arrivals instantly.  They lick their wet coats dry to stimulate circulation which in turn helps the lamb get to its feet and suckle.  While this is happening the ewe makes a constant babble of little bleating noises that forms the bleat that her lambs will always recognise. If they get parted they instantly know which sheep to run to. 

During April and May there will always be plenty of lambing action to delight and entertain you.  See them gambol & play, feed & interact with each other as they learn to be part of a flock.  Watch all this from your bedroom window, the front garden or the roadside. 

Sheep and lambs turn up in the most unexpected places!

Pet lambs are orphan lambs that have to be hand reared.  A helping hand is always welcome. 

and that means glorious flower filled hay meadows

Farms in upper Swaledale are renowned for their flower rich hay meadows.  They are farmed using traditional methods to allow the flower, herb & grasses to go to seed.  At Pry House Farm we are proud of our meadows.  They give us the sweetest, softest hay that smells heavenly and provides a high nutrient diet for our sheep throughout winter and lambing time. 

Staying on a hill farm high in the Yorkshire Dales is a peaceful and tranquil experience however during hay time the peace can be shattered for a short time.  Guests are fascinated with the hay making process and love to see the swathes of grass being 'strowed' (tossed about), baled, sometimes wrapped, led in and stacked.



There are of course other things to do besides watch us work.  Picnics by the river, wild swimming, walking in the wide open spaces or a day at a local show .... the list is endless.


and that means sale time when we sell some of our breeding ewes and tup lambs

Our sheep are meticulously prepared so that they look their very best on the day.

Autumn is also the time to make sure all is safe & strong before winter begins. 

Our cows have spent the summer roaming free on the moor but as the weather the gets colder its time to bring them into the buildings in the yard.

Autumn is the perfect walking season. Catch an early morning sunrise and watch the mist as it clings to the river until it reveals a paint box of ochres & reds & oranges.

and that means 'the east wind will blow and we will have snow'.

Winter is cold and dark at the head of the dale.  It can be pretty but it can be hazardous.

When the snow lays on the groung 'deep and crisp and even', the sheep on the fell need feeding and checking twice a day.

All our sheep will be pregnant with one or two lambs.  It is important that they have plenty to eat.

We have a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

Our sheep live on the fell, many miles from the farmstead.

They quickly recognise the sound of the tractor coming and make their way to the foddering ground.  They are not stupid!

Welcome to the Yorkshire Dales.  We love to have you here.  
We love having you to stay on the farm and sharing our way of life with you.  But please .... come in spring when the days are lengthening and the sun is warming the land and we are ready once again to welcome new life and new & old B&B guests.


Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter at Hillcrest Cottage

 A wander through the seasons at Hillcrest Cottage in Swaledale .

Hillcrest Cottage

Which is YOUR favourite?


It doesn't get much better than spring in Swaledale.  New life, new born lambs, vibrant birdsong and slowly but surely, as if by magic, new colour in the garden at Hillcrest.


A tunnel of young green on the approach to Low Row as the dale bursts to life.
It is no wonder that the spring season is so popular with visitors and why Hillcrest gets booked up so quickly.


From early June the flowers come!  The sheep are taken out of the meadow fields so that the grass can grow for hay. Swaledale is renowned for it miles of dry stone walls, its many little stone buildings known as cow'uses and for its spectacular flower filled meadow fields.

As spring gives way to summer the garden at Hillcrest is filled with a riot of colour.  Under unbroken skies, farmers up and down the dale cut and gather their vitally important hay crop and the landscape takes on a patchwork of greens and ochres.

Summer is the season for picnics and paddling and time to explore; on foot, by bicycle or by car.  Hillcrest has safe cycle storage and car parking.  There are guides and leaflet galore in the cottage plus a portfolio of recommended walks.  When you book to stay at Hillcrest you will receive a digital guest welcome guide containing lots of suggestions of where to go and what to do including local markets, museums, eateries, galleries and shops.  Enjoy! 


Autumn can only be described at amazing!  The colour palette Mother Nature choses as the leaves fall and the days shorten is nothing short of spectacular.

Autumn is the season to don your boots and a warm woolly hat and on a bright November day explore one of the many nearby circular walks before collapsing next to the fire back at the cottage.  Or would the temptation of early doors at a welcoming dales pubs like the Punchbowl Inn be too much to resist?  The Punchbowl is YOUR local when staying at Hillcrest.


Winter is for warming up by the fire and watching the world go by from behind the window!

Imagine spending Christmas or New Year here.  Carol Services and silver bands playing Christmas tunes and traditional carols, an old fashioned pantomime at the Georgian Theatre in Richmond, pick up provisions at a proper butcher and busy market stalls plus a superb gastro pub only a stroll away from the cottage.  What more could you want?  Only to to book early!