Monday, 25 November 2013

October & November

Late October & November have seen warm & pleasant days, mixed with sometimes heavy showers, rainbows & spectacular sunsets. 

Now in late November the weather has turned colder and as a result of several frosty mornings, the farmers are busy emptying their slurry tanks over the fields. Not a day to put the washing out if you want it smelling sweetly of fresh air!

We have been treated to some wildlife treats:

  • a stoat, running down the wall in Cow Pasture, next to us
  • a woodpecker going about its business in the sycamore in the same field
  • our own private murmurations of starlings of countless numbers
  • flocks of lapwings, feasting on the fields
  • a kestrel inspecting us at low altitude
  • the resident bank vole scuttling around in the undergrowth

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yellow Irises and a Barn Owl

The yellow flag irises are out down on Newby Moor, the SSSI that covers much of the valley below us. 

Patches of ground in the lowest lying areas and along the beck sides, and in the wonderfully sunny weather that we have had these last few days, they look magnificent!

A few days ago, we had offered to collect an arriving guest at Clapham station at about 6pm. As Di drove back with our guest, Jack and I walked back along the road - about 3miles & normally taking about 1½hours ('cos of all the interesting smells that have to be checked!)

Out of the corner of his eye, I caught a glimpse of a bird, not sure what it was, so stopped & waited for it to show again.

Over the next  hour a barn owl hunted across the moor, returning three or four times to the apex of a ruined barn, 
well away from the road.

These are distant photos, taken at maximum zoom. The 'one that got away' was the one where the owl was heading straight for me, face-on, 30, then 20 yards away....
            ....but Jack & I were in the middle of the road with a tractor bearing down on us, less than 20 yards away. "Oh, ***!"

Thank You!

A few days ago we received a couple of "Thank You" letters. It's always a pleasant surprise and nice to receive.
One was from one of three lovely ladies, away on their annual get-together, off walking by day & filling the house with happy chatter whilst in.
The other letter was from "Country Walking" magazine, who say that we have been recommended by one of their team or by a reader as a welcoming and lovely place to stay.

So, to both - a big "Thank you" from us

Sunday, 9 June 2013

From the Crooklands Chronicle:-
Last Wednesday morning, bright & early, Celeb TV star, Jack, dragged his co-star up to the top of Ingleborough to enjoy a gorgeous sunny breakfast of biscuits & water (both!). It was John's first time since before his accident & a long-stated aim to achieve before the end of June. On the way down Jack had a wonderful time chasing rabbits & on getting home, enjoyed a special relaxing doze in the sun, whilst the co-star went off for his hydrotherapy session.
You can't get the staff these days...the co-star hasn't figured out how to get photos from Di's phone to the computer yet!
Woofs & licks,


Monday, 29 April 2013

Local wildlife

It's been a real pleasure each morning recently, to see a hare munching away, under the bathroom window...
 ...and then there were two! (Maybe they're working on a few more!)

There have been curlews around for a few weeks now, after a late start. In previous years they arrived at the end of February, but the first I heard this year was in mid-March. My camera is never near when I do see one, so it was a pleasant surprise to see one walk through the viewfinder as I watched the hares!

And then there have been buzzards around a lot recently. With most lambs born in the fields there will have been afterbirth to feed off, if they can beat the gulls, jackdaws & crows to it, and not get chased off. Gulls & crows can be very persistent, dive-bombing & harrassing buzzards.

Male pheasants are in full, bright plumage; females tucked into safe corners in hedgerows & verges, sitting on eggs, becoming as inconspicuous as possible. They really are difficult to see, their colouring fits in so well. 

Sadly, I saw a dead stoat beside the road yesterday, presumably roadkill.

Over the last week to ten days the fields have gone from olive brown to green. At last the temperature has risen enough for grass to grow. Lambs are growing, bouncing around, charging around the field edges, climbing through gates & over walls. And there are plenty of young rabbits around ... have to let Jack loose to scare them out of the garden!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Two Fieldfares seen in the field alongside the house. Like sleek thrushes, similar size but with 'brilliant white' undersides, brown back & wings & grey head.

Stayed around for a couple of days.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Extreme dog walking!

Following on from yesterday's post - Di had come home from walking Jack with tall stories of crossing the tops of hedges and a car covered by drifting snow. Well....


The daft thing is - there's so much snow, but the fields are green!
And, slowly, it's thawing. "less snow than yesterday" says Di.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Spring? - Part 2

After what seems like 10 days of continuous easterly, cold, winds - now we've had a blizzard!

Not much snow on the ground where there's no shelter because the strength of the wind has scoured it away. 

Sheep shelter where they can, here behind a barn, and behind walls. One seen from our bedroom window was lying up to its shoulders in drifted snow.

Walking wasn't much fun, blown snow stinging any exposed skin. And drifting, eddying snow forming graceful shapes.

Today it's brighter. The sun is shining. The road is open. The wind is still cold & strong ... time to get outside! Jack needs a walk and we need some air.   

Saturday, 16 March 2013


Heard our first Curlew of this year yesterday (15 March). Over 3 weeks later than last year!

Lambs are beginning to appear in the fields.

And it snowed & sleeted yesterday...again!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Summer 2013 - in February?

The end of a glorious day that saw us both in t-shirts, working in the garden.
And a walk with Jack, down on the Newby Moor SSSI (between us and the Bowland Hills), under cloudless skies and with barely a breath of wind... so peaceful, and WARM!

Saturday, 26 January 2013


 Six inches of snow fell overnight Friday to Saturday 25th-26th January...

...and this is what we woke up to!

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

On October 15th 2012, the first day for weeks when it wasn't actually raining John decided that it would be a good day to try to at least complete the undercoat on the garage.

Ladders out, paintbrushes & paint, get on with the job. Give the paint a chance to dry before that evening's predicted showers.

Then John & the ladder parted company.

999 was called & within a few minutes paramedics were on the job. Diagnosing a broken thigh (we didn't know this, but a major artery runs behind the thigh bone & thus potentially a life-threatening injury), urgent transfer to hospital was required. The Air Ambulance was called. John was flown to Preston, the major trauma centre for the north-west.

Crooklands is not particularly remote but still air transfer was preferred over a normal ambulance. In the hills, air ambulance is a vital service and needs support.

Air Ambulances are entirely funded by charitable giving. They receive no government funding nor Lottery money. We have a collection box here. If anyone would like to donate, we  will forward any donations on.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is featured on “Helicopter Heroes” on BBC 1. There was a cameraman on board and its likely that we will feature in the next series starting in March 2013. Judging by the post-incident visits, much of our bit will centre on Jack who raised the alarm by barking continuously until Di came to investigate. Apparently he played up to the camera like a star!