Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


Go Herdwick

A lovely new arts trail raising money for a local charity will go on display from 25 March this year.  60 models of Herdwick ewes, each decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local ewefirm will be displayed around Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere.  The animals will be placed in public places and follow the route of the 555 bus service.

In September the flock will be rounded up for a gala auction in October.

We are particularly pleased to see that a favourite local artist of ours, Jo McGrath, has one to paint.  She plans “… to use the sheep raddle powder we use on our Herdwicks at Yew Tree farm, to mix up an acrylic paint to use to sheep-hatdraw /paint designs of herdwicks onto the main herdwick model. The designs will be applied in such a way that they will look like the sheep model is marked with traditional ‘smit’!”  To have a look at more of Jo’s work, click on this link for her website. I posted another blog about her here.

Money raised will help fund redevelopment of Old Windebrowe, the Calvert Trust’s grade 2 listed farmhouse and tithe barn, which is thought to date back to the 1550s and was once used as a home by William Wordsworth.  The Trust provides adventure holidays for people with disabilities and plans to use the centre to provide specialist accommodation.  If you would like to know more about the Trust and its campaign, click here.

 

 

 


Smoots, Boles and Squeeze Stiles

The dry stone walls of the Lake District are such beautiful things.  Walking alongside and over them on our ramblings across the South Lakes we have become quite adept spotting various holes and ledges in these field enclosures.

Merchant-and-Makers-Dry-Stone-Walls-32-Water-smootThere’s a SMOOT which, I think, is any small hole generally ground level in the wall.  I have come across two types: a Water Smoot for drainage and a Rabbit Smoot.  I was curious as to why a farmer would take the trouble to build a rabbit tunnel until I came across this on the Ruskin Museum’s website :

 “Smoots allowed rabbits and hares to pass from the fell into the intakes (fields). Sometimes stone-lined pits were dug below the smoots having a wooden trough, above which was a counter- weighted trap door. The rabbit would fall into the pit and this could be used to supplement a countryman’s diet.”

beatrix potterOccasionally in walls beside farms, we have also come across a small recess with a slate base.  This is a BEE BOLE.  The farmer would put his straw bee hive or skep on this to protect it from rain and wind.  A Bee Bole usually faced South to South East so that the morning sun would warm up the hive.    You can see a Bole at Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top though it is filled with a more modern hive.  Click here for more about Hill Top.

If you are interested in discovering more about Bee Boles there’s a delightful website run by the International Bee Research Association called the Bee Bole Register.  (What else?)   Click here for the link.

lake districtAnd a SQUEEZE STILE is just as you would imagine … instead of steps built into the wall, you must squeeze through the small gap.  Unfortunately, overweight dogs of the Team Rigg party need to be lifted over the obstacle.


Broughton Moor Slate

broughton moorThe window seats in the sunroom of Sykehouse Cottage is made from some truly beautiful and very local slate.

The Broughton Moor Quarry, half way between Broughton and Coniston, has been worked since the mid 19th century.  lakes slateIt gives a wonderfully rich mid-green stone with a beautiful tone and pale veins which give a distinctive and very pleasing range of irregular markings.  This makes it a favourite for stylish interiors (like ours, obviously …) and can be seen in our local merchant’s showrooms, Burlington Slate.  Their main website is www.burlingtonstone.co.uk


Show Time!

Held at West Park, known locally as the “Show Ground”, Millom & Broughton Show is on the last Saturday in August every year.  The field is easy to find: the first on the right running along the Coniston road and is a short walk from the holiday cottage.  If you are lucky enough to be in the area, it’s a lovely way to spend a day.

The Show Millom&broughton showis relatively small – contained in the one field – but has lots to look at and enjoy.  There are usually dog agility displays, fell racing, Cumberland wrestling and hound trailing, as well as all the livestock entrants, poultry tent and the fiercely competitive vegetable and flower competitions.

The tribe has variously entered edible necklaces, animals made out of vegetables, best handwriting of a poem and decorated wellies.  More senior members of the tribe enter marmalade, bread and photographs.

Other local shows in August 2015 are:


Green Door Art Trail 2015

cumbria artsWhat better way to spend a relaxing and inspiring weekend than wandering around artists’ studios chatting about their work and perhaps even buying something? At Sykehouse Cottage, we support locally made work and believe that knowing the artist creates an extra dimension to appreciation.  The Green Door Art Trail takes place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March this year and is spread across the South Lakes.

The collective was formed 20 years ago to provide low-cost studios in the Kendal area. Over the years, this not-for-profit co-operative has been involved in an enormous number of exhibitions and educational and community projects, run both by the organisation as a whole and by individual members.  They are committed to bringing artists together and making contemporary art accessible to local residents and visitors to the area.

More than 50 artists, along with local galleries, will be opening their studios and homes for their 10th Art Trail. Painters, sculptors, printmakers, ceramic artists, textile artists, jewellers and glass-makers will be showing their work and the environment in which they create it.

For further information, click this link to go to their website.


Herdwick Wool Rugs

herdwick sheepThe distinctive look of Lake District fells, ribbons of stone walls and treeless slopes, has largely been created by Herdwick sheep.  The animal has been part of the landscape for centuries and there are now many products you can take home with you to celebrate this hardy breed and to remember your stay at our cottage.herdwick wool

herdwick throw If you pop into Melville’s in Broughton-in-Furness, you can pick up one of our favourite local products: a beautiful Original Cumbrian Wool throw.  These are woven from undyed Duddon valley fleeces and would be a unique memento of your holiday

A link to the Original Cumbrian Wool website is here if you would like further details of their products.