The Vault Regulars

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walna Scar Shepherds meet. Cumbria

What a stunning weekend in Cumbria. With a clear cloudless blue sky and the superb autumnal colours it was every outdoor persons dream weekend.
Top of the Park Head track looking at Harter Fell (left) and Bowfell  (just right of centre).
Sheila and i were invited to spend a weekend with friends Tina and Alan in Seathwaite, Duddon Valley.

The agenda included a 4 course dinner cooked by Amanda at the Coffee shop in Ulpha followed by an evenings entertainment at the BrowFoot Rooms, also in Ulpha, with a French female singer, guitarist and comedienne Flossy Malavialle.
Saturday was Walna Scar Shepherds Meet with lunch and entertainment in the evening.
Entertainment Itinerary at the Brow Foot Room.

Although we had not heard of Flossy before it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the house full and plenty of beer and wine flowing. She is an English teacher who came to England on a teacher swop in 2002 from the South of France.
  She said that it wasn’t difficult to find people to swop with her and live in the South of France. However she ended up in Darlington. Life can be tough.
That more or less finished her English teaching career in France,  because now her English language includes colloquialisms for example “I ain’t dunit like” and Yerr Right Like.
All her sentences now end with the word “Like”.

Thanks must go to everybody involved for a really good night.

Saturday we were going to Torver near Coniston for the local shepherds “Meet”.  We have been going to this event for many years. It is good day out especially with the wonderful weather this year and the evenings entertainment which is mainly a sing song by the farmers was a little quieter than usual.
 Most of the singers are from the older generation and it would seem that the younger ones are not as keen to keep the singing tradition going. It would be a shame if this part of the day came to an end.

What is the Shepherds Meet?
Before the era of the telephone and motorised transport, the business of returning stray sheep to their owners was communally organised. 
Each fell area had their own shepherds' meets which were held twice a year - in July for clipping time and in November for tupping time. Stray sheep were gathered together to be identified and claimed by their rightful owners and the meets were also occasions for much socialising. 
Shepherds’ Meets today mostly take the form of a traditional agricultural show and/or social occasion.  Their function of returning stray sheep is much reduced but still occurs, usually agreed over the phone and picked up by the owners by trailer. 
There is also hound trailing events.
The Walna Scar Meet rotates between The Newfield Inn  Duddon Valley, The Blacksmiths Inn Broughton Mills and the Church House Inn in Torver.
The Church House Inn is 15th century and lies in the shadow of the Old Man of Coniston which today was looking close and clear. It still has the open fires and many original rustic features.
Good cask beers are served and the food is excellent although in my opinion it is a bit pricey. Restaurant prices in a pub setting.
There is also a decent campsite adjacent to the pub.
 The Old Man of Coniston
The Church House Inn
Here are some photographs i took from this years Meet.

The breeds of sheep in this area are predominantly Herdwick and Swaledale. The overall champion of show was won by my old mate Anthony Hartley from Turner Hall Farm. That’s him in the 4th picture, on the left with Andrew Birkett on the right. They are showing Herdwick Tupps.
 On leaving the show we drove back to Seathwaite via the top fell road and i took a few more photographs.

Overnight the clear skies resulted in the temperatures falling rapidly. The gauge in the car on the way back from the evening social was showing 2.5 ℃. This morning the grassy areas in the shade was covered in a layer of white. It looked beautiful. The first for me this year.
 Wallowbarrow Crag.
 Grey Friar can just be made out in the background.
A cold and hungry visitor.

Thanks to Alan and Tina and all at the Shepherds’ Meet and Ulpha for a wonderful weekend.
The entire album of pictures can be found here


Alan Sloman said...

No 10 (the sheep's head amongst the fleeces) is wonderful. Sounds like a wonderful weekend, like.

AlanR said...

What i remember Al like.
Notice there are no photo’s of the evenings proceedings. Hik.

markswalkingblog said...

Alan,looks like a great weekend. I think that young Herdwick lambs are beautiful to look at. Herdwicks and the Swaledales are constant "companions" on my walks in the hills.

mike knipe said...

Very nice, like. I prefer Swardles, y'nah what I mean, like?

4 course nosh? I'm not jealous, obviously....

AlanR said...

Hi Mark,
Sheila agree’s. She thinks they are beautiful too. I think they look better with mint sauce and tatties.

AlanR said...

Well Swardles are closer to your home so i can understand that,like.

Yes, good nosh and all for a tenner y’nah, like. (this silliness is going to have to stop).

afootinthehills said...

Sounds like a great weekend. Super pics Alan - we can't resist Herdwicks and, of course, love the two collies. Last time we were in Grasmere we bought three mugs from the Herdy shop which I hope is still there.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
We had a great time. Really enjoyed listening to the French lass.
Herdwicks are my favourite. The 2 collies belong to Photographer Ian Lawson.
I don’t recall the Herdwick shop but that’s not saying it’s not there any more.
Thanks for your comments on the photo’s. I know i got some settings wrong but i am quite pleased with them.

Phreerunner said...

Nice one Alan. Especially for anyone with a sheep fetish! I especially like the powerboat pic.

AlanR said...

Hi Martin,
Hope you had a good weekend. Herdwick’s are very photogenic i find.
I saw the Bluebird copy only at the last minute and couldn’t get a shot with the sun in the right direction so it was a surprise that it came out half decent. Thanks.

Chris Grogan said...

Many thanks - that really brought back some memories. I grew up in the Dales and our sheep were on Whernside. We didn't have such a formal set up as a Meet but every gathering day ended with swapping strays and involved much gossiping and beer.

AlanR said...

Thanks for your comment Chris.
I’m glad it brought back good memories. Although if your gatherings are anything like this one i would be surprised if anybody remembered anything. Especially in the morning.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan

Off topic - I've answered your query on Alan's blog re durability of Power Shield fabric, but the following gives cause to be optimistic:

Polartec Power Shield: these fabrics feature a smooth, tightly woven nylon face for abrasion resistance equal or superior to the best shells, but without the stiffness and noise. A polyester velour back traps air and provides a high warmth-to-weight ratio.

AlanR said...

Thanks Gibson. I'm going into town tomorrow. If i get chance i will see if i can find one for a closer look. Cheers.

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