We were rather excited to see the layouts for the first of our six project walk booklets today. After months of research, writing, route testing and taking just the right photograph of every single stopping point, it’s lovely to at last see them taking shape. Packed full of stories and memories as well as lots of interesting historical information, photographs and drawings, we think that they will really enhance a visit to this part of Upper Swaledale.
With the weather improving we are on with testing out the various walk routes that our ranger Michael has devised for the project. Last week we tried out a circular walk from Keld to Angram and back. We had some fantastic views of the classic walls and barns landscape that the area is famous for and got up close and personal with lots of rather magnificent cowusses including at least one that we didn’t know was actually there. We also had to wade through a bog and quite a bit of water, but only got lost once so we think it should be a goer with a little bit of work done on it which is what this project is all about. We were treated to a beautiful rainbow while we were walking along the side of Kisdon Hill – we wondered if the cowus it rested on had a pot of gold hidden in it – but we were too tired to check!
We are continuing doing the research for the Every Barn… walk leaflets and discovering some wonderful dialect field names like ‘Slapey’ meaning slippery and ‘Puke’ which is short for the family name Peacock (see Will Swales blog). There are lots of meadows called Ing and Close which are obvious, along with others like ‘Slack’ and ‘Seal’ and ‘Purse’ pronounced Puss, which we are still puzzling over.
One of the most important things we will be producing as part of the ‘Every Barn…’ project is a set of walk leaflets helping people explore the amazing farming landscapes of upper Swaledale. We’ll be adding stories; old photographs and history to each walk making it a real journey back in time to when the cow’usses formed such an important part of the farmer’s daily life. It means we are spending a lot of time poring over old maps, zooming around digital maps and sticking labels and applying highlighter pen onto paper ones!