Friday, 17 September 2010

Brass band contest took place on 12th September

The world famous Hardraw Scaur Brass Band Contest takes place annually within our natural wooded amphitheatre to the rear of the Inn on the second Sunday in September. The band contest was first held behind the Inn in 1884 and were held upto 1927. Then in 1976 the Band Contest was restarted and has been a success ever since.

Band Contest 2002
Photo - The 2002 Brass Band Concert held on Sunday 8th September

After the completion of the competition, the concert MC will introduce the Finale programme. This is the traditional end to the day which takes the form of an impromptu concert given by the massed bands drawn from those who have competed in the contest. this enables both musicians and audience to come together and enjoy singing the hyms along with the bands.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Healaugh Crag

I was pleased with this photo with the dark and threatening sky above the Crag. Would make a lovely painting!


This is my favourite bird. I love everything about it, the way it looks, sounds, flies and tastes.
It should be Britain's national bird- Red Grouse are found no where else.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Many interesting lectures

Dyeing Flowers Workshop

Lunchtime Lecture -Red Squirrel Conservation in the National Park

Lunchtime Lecture -Woodland Birds of the Yorkshire Dales

Discover & Do: Textile Crafts

Dry Stone Walling Demonstration

Lunchtime Lecture - Upland birds of the Yorkshire Dales

There are so many wonderful lectures at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. Take a look at the website for more details.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Grouse and hay

Looks like it will be a good season on the moors this year. The dry breeding season has helped all the ground nesting species. Large broods of grouse have been seen. It isn't long til the start of the shooting season, which is in effect like a harvest. It should prove a better harvest than for farmers who need hay. Think that will be in short supply and expensive this year.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Funny comments from our guests in June

We had this lovely email from guests who had stayed at Laykin this month and asked them if they minded us sharing it on the blog- here is what they said:

Dear Mrs. B,
We really enjoyed staying in your house in early June. Our welcome from your housekeeper could not have been better.
A "game" we played was to try to find anything we needed which was not provided (if you see what I mean!), the one thing was a knife sharpener --- we found it on the last day hiding behind the garlic jar!
Thank you so much,
The Hs, Hs and Ts.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Grouse and Golden Plover

After the hard winter, the birds have had a wonderful breeding season. All ground nesting birds benefit from having a dry May and June, and some good broods of grouse chicks have been spotted.

Midsummer at Laykin

It was a lovely week in Swaledale - dry with plenty of sunshine. The swallows and housemartins are nesting in the barn and the hawthorns are in full flower. The buttercups in the meadows are at their best. Thanks to Alison for the photos!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Buttercups in Swaledale

It is simply a wonderful time of year to be in Swaledale. The meadows are looking gorgeous now- glowing with buttercups.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Swaledale Festival 30th Anniversary 2010

The Swaledale festival begins today and goes on til the 13th June.
You can enjoy music, art and craft, drama, quoits, poetry, workshops, wildlife walks and lectures.
There is something for everyone!
Some events require you to buy tickets in advance and sell out quickly and others you can simply turn up on the day.
Check out the full programme at
There are venues all over Swaledale.
Today's events are at St Andrew's church in Grinton- bell ringing and baroque music.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Roe deer and sunburn

Exciting news! Guests staying last week saw a roe deer in the woods below Laykin! We have never seen one there before. As far as we know there aren't many deer in Low Row.
The weather was glorious all week and it is now rather dry, and our guests were sunburned.
The grass seed we scattered about on the scars made by the building is unlikely to germinate unless we get some rain soon!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Etape Du Dales

Look out for the Etape du Dales as it passes through on Sunday! It is a bike ride starting at 6.30 am
in Grassington and goes up Wharfdale and through Muker, past the Punch Bowl Inn and Tan Hill pub and returns via Nateby and Horton in Ribblesdale. 110 Miles in total and quite a lot of up and down! (10,500 feet to be precise or for those who do metric 3500m)

Good luck to all taking part and hope it is a nice sunny day!
The route can be viewed at

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Snow in May and first grouse chicks seen.

Incredible but true- there was a dusting of snow on Monday 10th May, but it didn't stay long which was lucky for all the birds currently nesting and all the young chicks. There are plenty of lapwing chicks about (green plover) and the first grouse chicks were spotted this week. Would be nice to have a bit of warmer weather- let's hope that we do see the sun a bit more this year and have a proper summer!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Dales Festival of Food and Drink

Programme of events

Saturday 1st May 2010
11.30 - 12.00 Bee keeping by Richmond and District Beekeepers Association
12.00 – 12.30 Growing and Using Herbs with Garth Cottage Herbs
12.30 - 13.00 Brewing by Brewlab
13.00 - 14.00 Wood turning by Margaret Garrard
14.00 – 15.00 Soup making with The Foodie Farmer
15.00 – 16.00 Cheese making by Wensleydale Dairy Products

Sunday 2nd May 2010
11.30 - 12.00 Bee keeping by Richmond and District Beekeepers Association
12.00 – 12.30 Growing and Using Herbs with Garth Cottage Herbs
12.30 - 13.00 Brewing by Brewlab
13.00 – 13.30 Healthy Eating with Christine Spencer of Slimming World
13.30– 14.00 All about Farming from National Farmers Union
14.00– 15.00 Soup making with The Foodie Farmer
15.00 – 16.00 Cheese making by Wensleydale Dairy Products

Monday 3rd May 2010
11.30 - 12.00 Bee keeping by Richmond and District Beekeepers Association
12.00 – 12.30 Growing and Using Herbs with Garth Cottage Herbs
12.30 - 13.00 Brewing by Brewlab
13.00 - 14.00 Wood turning by Margaret Garrard
14.00 – 15.00 Soup making with The Foodie Farmer
15.00 – 16.00 Cheese making by Wensleydale Dairy Products

Some recipes from the Dales Festival of Food and Drink held over bank holiday weekend in Leyburn


Wednesday 05 May 2010

Fillet of Haddock on a bed of Wild Garlic & Spinach, topped with a Poached Egg

4 portions of haddock

2 cloves of garlic

1 medium shallot

250ml fish stock

Pinch of bay leaf & thyme

500ml of Maythorne Farm double cream

wild garlic


jersey royal potatoes

4 free range eggs

tomato concasse


In a heavy based pan with lid sweat off garlic & shallots in a little olive oil. Add fish stock & herbs. reduce by ½. Add double cream & bring to boil & reduce by1/4. Correct seasoning. Pop in haddock, wild garlic, spinach & new potatoes. Bring to boil & add tomato concasse. Take off when fish is cooked & serve immediately.

Carrick’s Organic Smoked Salmon, Avocado & Crab Salad

600g Carricks’Organic smoked salmon

100g mixed salad leaves

1 lemon

I ripe avocado

Caper berries

Mustard dressing

Crab Mix

250 g picked fresh white crabmeat

50g white breadcrumbs

4 spring onions

¼ bunch of coriander

½ lemon, juiced

75-100g mayonnaise

Mix all together in a large bowl.

Sorting out the shed

Our shed floor was a bit rotten and we had amassed a huge amount of things in our shed which needed sorting.
The floor is now sound and everything is tidy.
The downstairs has been mucked out- think the muck has been accumulating from many many years of sheep taking shelter, and is probably excellent fertilizer for the field. This was very hard work!
There are 2 new doors below which are now a lovely green colour (Ball green from Farrow and Ball colour chart) but we have left a window open so that the housemartins can nest in there as usual.
We also have electricity in the shed and lights- I would like lights in the downstairs too, but this may not happen for a while.
It has also been repointed, so should last many more years now!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Family fun by the ford

It was a lovely sight to see so many children enjoying the swing by the ford at the bottom of our track, by the waterfall, and playing in the stream.

Lapwings courting

These photos of lapwings (green plover or peewits) were taken on Low Row Pasture.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Daffodils in the Dales

The daffodils are looking lovely in Low Row at the moment. We will plant some up at Laykin in the autumn.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Roads and views

The new road has a culvert or drainage ditch to the side and offsets across to direct water into it. It appears to work well. There are large pipes under certain sections which gush when it rains hard.
The grass is growing over the water/electricity scar in the top field, but we will put more seed now the weather is warmer and before the cows come out and trample it all!

Cycling in the Dale

We met this lovely family cycling in the Dale. They had cycled from Reeth to Low Row by the riverside and were coming back along the road- and everyone was still cheerful! That is about 8 miles! A very good effort.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Lambing in full swing in Swaledale

Notice that one pair of lambs is wearing rain jackets! They are see through.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

More curlews

Laykin is surrounded by curlews calling. Here is a nice photo of one close up from the RSPB website. You can hear one calling if you click the link

Wednesday, 31 March 2010


The curlews are back in the dale. Think everyone loves to hear and see them.
I found this article from the Times Online very interesting.

Controlling predators can save the curlew

It’s unfashionable, but shooting a fox or catching a stoat is good for wading birds

The last two curlews came back to our strip of Perthshire moorland at the weekend, wheeling overhead with their mournful, fluting call, plunging their beaks into the mud, picking their way warily through the heather. They reminded us that spring has actually arrived after three months of non-stop snow. It was wonderful to see them again.

But the days when we regularly saw flocks of these wading birds are long gone. Their numbers have been steadily dwindling, and it will be touch and go whether the chicks produced by our remaining pair will survive the attentions of the predators who watch their nests every bit as keenly as we do. Alongside the curlew, equally vulnerable, is a lone lapwing (also known as a peewit), still without a mate. Just another sad account of a declining species? Well, not quite.

Less than 30 miles away, in the glens of Angus, there is a different story. There reports tell of more waders than have been seen for many years. They have come back in profusion, nesting on heather and marshland, rearing young in ever larger numbers.

The explanation is one that will be resisted fiercely by conservationists, but is almost certainly right. The birds have come back to the Angus glens because they are safer there. The numbers of foxes, crows, weasels and stoats, creatures that pose such a threat to ground-nesting birds, have been brought under control by an army of gamekeepers, brought in by a new generation of wealthy landowners keen to see the revival of the great grouse moors that have been in decline for more than 20 years. They have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on activities that are scarcely talked about in conservation circles, but are standard practice on a well-managed moor: trapping carrion crows, shooting foxes, catching stoats and weasels, controlling deer numbers, and dipping sheep regularly so that disease-carrying ticks are killed off.

Their success has been measured by rising numbers of grouse, which are now an important industry in the shooting season. But the by-product has been a marked increase in the numbers of curlew, lapwing and even the once-rare golden plover.

Lest this is dismissed as merely “anecdotal” evidence, a remarkable nine-year survey has just been completed at Otterburn in Northumberland, where the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust tested out the theory that predators were the principal threat to wading birds. They took two main areas of moorland — one where predators were controlled, one where they were not. The results, published last week, were astounding: waders were more than three times likely to raise their chicks in the areas where trapping took place than in those which remained wild. When, in some years, controls were lifted, numbers dropped.

It is probably one of the most important pieces of moorland research carried out in recent years, and it raises an intriguing point: why has so little attention been paid to it by conservation bodies, such as Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds? Surely they should be embracing the Otterburn conclusions and seeing whether they might be applied elsewhere?

There is, of course, a catch. For these organisations to applaud the Game Conservancy’s findings would mean supporting the shooting lobby, backing landowners, coming out in favour of grouse moors. Not only is that a cultural leap too far, it would mean sitting down with the enemy. These, after all, are the people who are regularly accused of persecuting eagles, falcons and hen harriers. Only this month there were headlines again about the numbers of birds of prey found shot or poisoned in Scotland.

That most of these deaths involved buzzards, which have enjoyed a population explosion in recent years, and which regularly feed on the offspring of moorland birds, is considered less important than the occasional killing of a sea eagle or a red kite — species that have been introduced recently and are multiplying fast.

And so there is a stand-off between two sides in the conservation debate. One argues that those who own and farm the land are simply interested in propagating birds for shooting. The other claims that the conservation bodies favour only birds of prey, at the expense of anything else. Between them are acres of common ground — but no one seems able to occupy it. Apart, that is, from our beloved, vanishing, curlew.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Snowdrops in flower

There are lots of snowdrops around Laykin and the woods around Laykin- they are such a lovely sight. We had to move some out of the garden during building work, but are looking forward to replacing them and adding to them. I have some larger Atkinsii and single nivalis snowdrops to bring up at Easter time. The ones growing round Laykin are mainly nivalis double.

Christmas 2009

Christmas day, a walk, some skiing and gorgeous blue skies and sunshine as well as a fabulous Christmas dinner and relaxing time with the family- couldn't be better!

Fun in the snow in Swaledale

We all had such fun in the snow- sledging and skiing!
The grouse were hungry as snow had covered up all the heather- their main food source. They came down from the moors to eat the hawthorn berries. This was the first time we had ever seen grouse in the trees- they are very clumsy and don't balance well in the branches like other birds used to roosting or feeding in trees. We saw about a dozen grouse at Blades in the trees above the village and even down below Laykin.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A white Christmas- how perfect!

Our first Christmas at Laykin- it was truly magical! The snow just transformed the scenery overnight- couldn't have been more perfect! We were snowed in for 9 days!