Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hannah's Meadow, Mickleton Mill - 3rd July 2012

We were up bright and early and on our way to Hannah's Meadow in Teesdale.

If you don't know much about Hannah Hauxwell (daughter of the Dales!) you can read about her here.

She now lives in Cotherstone but this is where Low Birk Hatt Farm still stands. The meadow was farmed by Hannah using traditional methods with no fertilizers or re-seeding and is home to many rare flowers and is a SSSI.

I love the story of Hannah, of the hardships that she seemingly dealt with as just "life". I know what the weather can be like up on the tops in the winter, how bitterly cold it must have been in the winter months with no electricity or central heating to warm her up. She's an inspiration.

My Nana said she met her once, Hannah was known in Mickleton village, not far from Low Birk Hatt, my Nana didn't have much to contribute apart from Hannah was nice enough but not to drink tea if you ever found yourself in the area she was from, she got the water from the stream that the cows wee in! Sage advice from Nana there!

If you haven't seen the documentaries she's features in you should watch them.

On our way in through the gates we were greeted by a cow on a tuft of land, Tim named her little miss mooffet and then laughed at his own joke for five minutes, very tickeld by this!

Little Miss Moo-fet apparently....

Although the weather was overcast we were lucky enough not to get rain and when we entered the road and walked down to the meadow we were greeted with a flurry of colour, insects buzzing about and birds flying overhead. It really was a beautiful sight.

Hannah's Meadow
Hannah's Meadow Hannah's Meadow Hannah's Meadow Hannah's Meadow Hannah's Meadow

I did see this butterfly and I'm not sure what is is, anyone? 

Hannah's Meadow

After we'd had a good walk about and Tim had used his key to identify some of the species of flower in there we drove back down into Mickleton and went for a quick drink in the then Rose & Crown, now the The Crown at Mickleton

I couldn't quite believe my eyes when we went in there. This is the pub I first ever had a drink in, the place I was allowed to go with my friends as an underage teenager, the pub that had lock ins every night of the week, the pub I was first sick out of my nose in front of, and every other hideous drinking story you can think of, circa 1994 - 1997 this was my watering hole. 

Long gone is the back room with the pool table and the little bar where we'd order pints of bitter and drink a lovingly crafted creation called a "blastaway" - Diamond White and Castaway - long gone are the manky toilets, and there is no lad called Ashley in sight or local folk in the main bar giving you funny looks because after all you're 14, in a pale blue miniskirt and you're downing pints like they're going out of fashion. 

Whilst it was sad to say goodbye to the Rose & Crown, pub of my mispent youth, it was nice to see the old gal get a really good facelift and see it full of folk (and nuns!) enjoying a lunch there soaking in the surroundings of what is a thoroughly lovely place to spend your time (rather than it being the pub your folks don't go to so therefore you do). 

We then went to Mickleton Mill, a farm and caravan site that my Grandparents had a caravan on and then my parents took over after my Granda passed away. I spent all of my weekends and summers there as a kid and grew up with the other kids on the site. It had a huge place in my heart and I don't think I've been back there since I was 20. The 12 years that have passed have brought a lot of changes to it. 

The space where we used to have our static van is now a road to another part of the site. 

Ths is where my Grandfolk's caravan was, and my folks after that

There's a pig pen where the cow field used to be, and the old toilet block where hideous moths used to live of a dark evening, is now locked up and used as a store.

The old dens that we used to play in and pretend we were orphaned kids are now long gone, or at least covered with water due to the rain, and there was no swing across on bindy twine island.

I went and stood by the river and got quite emotional, I spent a lot of time here with my sisters and my Grandparents in times that somehow seemed a lot simpler to me, before a lot of things happened that broke us all away from each other. I remembered when Dad used to put us all in the dinghy and we'd swim in the river together and play.

Mickleton Mill Mickleton Mill

It was good to go back, and I spoke to Carol and Keith who still own and run the farm and the caravan site and we had a little catch up. Out of all of my friends there; Peter, Kate, Faye, Carly, Chris, Adrian, it's now only Adrian whose family still has a caravan there, and Chris sometimes goes there with him. It's a shame, we were all once so close, I really wish I could find them all again and have some sort of reunion! Alas I don't think it's meant to be. 

It was good to show Tim the places I often talk about and for him to see why I love that part of the country so much, growing up here has made me love the English countryside and Teesdale in particular.

Full set of our photos can be found here

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