We were out checking yet another one of our proposed walk leaflet routes – this time right up towards the west end of the parish of Muker. Haymaking and raising dairy cows must have been a tough business this high up, but the evidence for lead mining and processing showed us how many of the smaller farms got by with one or members of a family off working in Keldside smelt mill or down the mines themselves. We have a probably nineteenth century map of a small farm called Smithy Holme which we took along to see if we could spot the various cowhouses marked in the fields around it.
These two cowhouses both lie in meadows called Smithy Holme, one south of the farm and in a lower position, the other higher up, right next to the intake wall separating meadow from moorland
The land is no longer farmed from Smithy Holme itself but the house is clearly well-looked after with a magnificent home cowhouse which is almost as big as the house itself.
On the way back we spotted yet another cowhouse from the map – now just a ruin, placed in a meadow with the unusual name of Quey Holme. Spot the ruin on the skyline in the photo and also the fine limekiln below – an essential part of the process of turning such marginal land into productive haymeadow.