Last ride for Ghost Cows (and calf)

The two ghost cows and their calves have spent the winter in Keld and our Bainbridge office. One calf is being kept by the community but the time has come to find the others a final home. Grassington Festival have asked if they can have them so we went to collect them yesterday in a horsebox belonging to a member of staff.  It was quite an adventure!

Cow and calf loaded up in Keld
Second cow loaded up at Yoredale office, Bainbridge

We hope they enjoy their new home in a laithe (not cowhouse!) in Grassington

School worksheets

We’re pleased to say that our online education pack is almost ready to launch. We’ve proofed all the worksheets and they are full of fun facts and things to do on the cowhouse theme.

We’ll publish them as downloadable PDFs shortly. Watch this space!

Usha Gap photos

The Every Barn Tells a Story project is now drawing to a close with just a few more things like the school work pack and our videos to be finished off.

We’re always delighted to see how people are using the resources we’ve already produced of course, and loved these photos of our cowhouse posters and framed photos  now on display at Usha Gap campsite recently sent to us by the campsite owner.

Banty barn interpetation panel

Our ranger Michael Briggs has just sent these rather fab photos of the Banty Barn panel we’ve installed on the Buttertubs Road  – it’s the first item from the project that many visitors will come across when the arrive in upper Swaledale so we hope people find it informative and that it inspires them to find out more about the project.

Every Barn project postcard

Way back when the project outputs got underway at the beginning of 2017 we produced a postcard for visitors telling them all about what the local cowhouses were for.  This was as a result of talking to local tourism businesses who told us that their visitors were always asking what the little buildings in the fields were for. We distributed copies of the card at the start of the holiday season to visitor businesses and asked them for feedback.

Every Barn Tells a Story postcard
Every Barn Tells a Story postcard

Based on that feedback, almost the last thing we have produced for the end of the project has been a new postcard which businesses will be able to use throughout next year. It’s smaller and has better labelling of all the parts of the cowhouse and there is more room on the back for people to write messages. We hope everyone likes them.

Final Every Barn… postcard

Free copies of trail booklets

If you’d like to own a free set of our six Every Barn… trail booklets, then pop into reception at our offices in either Grassington (Colvend BD23 5LB) or Bainbridge (Yoredale DL8 3EL) and pick one up while stocks last.



New homes for our ghost cows

Ghost cows ‘Frith’ and ‘Skeugh’ and their calves have now been moved to their new homes for the winter so that farmer John Rukin can get the use of his cowhouse back. ‘Frith’ is staying in Keld with the local community. Apparently she enjoyed watching over an evening of dominoes in Keld Public Hall last week! One of the calves has taken up residence in the byre inside the Keld Resource Centre and is saying hello to visitors.

And finally, ghost cow ‘Skeugh’ has been carried over the Buttertubs Pass into Wensleydale and now has pride of place in the foyer of the National Park Authority’s Yoredale office in Bainbridge. We’ve just been sent this photo of her watching the comings and goings.

Song composed for Ghost Cow Night

Hearing the local choir called ‘The Cousins’ sing this out into the darkness to call the ghost cows down off Kisdon was really rather special. Here are the words – we’re hoping to post a recording of the music shortly:

The Tale of the Swaledale Cow’us

Cu-ish, [shout] Come on!

Come on Cushy Pet

Come on Cow

Come on Cushy Cow


Verse:        The old Swordle Cow’us , there’s nowt in-side.

There Once was a time when the old barn thrived,

Its use has gone, its time has died,

Its where the old tup hides.


Chorus:      Then the Farmer called out…

Cu-ish, [shout] Come on!

Come on Cushy Pet

Come on Cow

Come on Cushy Cow


The tale it tells is both old and new,

The cows, the calls and the old hay mew.

The Ghost Barn calls where e’er we roam,

The old Cow’us is home.


Chorus:      Then the Farmer called out…


The Cow’us had cows, the haymew’s full.

The ridstakes used to keep shorthorns still.

The long dark days were cold and grey.

The group it was always full


Chorus:      Then the Farmer called out…


The kitle hangs ready for its daily use,

The backcan full, the cows didn’t re-fuse.

The Man once lish but not any more,

The never ending work.


Chorus:       Then the Farmer called out…


The days grow long, there’s the smell of spring

The curlews call and the hairbells ring,

Cows sent up til they’ve gone

Up to the hidden hill

Chorus:      Then the Farmer calls out.


Hays all gone, the meadows are sweet,

Cut and turned, with cocks all neat.

The sleds in use when the hay is reet

Folks work hard all day


Chorus:      Then the Farmer calls out…


Days grow short, it’s that time of year

When the pig has gone and the cows re-appear.

The Cow’us is filled, each steaming boose

The cows get a canch each day


Chorus:      Then the Farmer calls out…


Stories told, hard lives lived.

Times that are re-membered still.

Hay went in, milk came out.

Every family loved their land.


Chorus:      Then the Farmer called out…




© Geoff Garrett 2017