A Dead Restoration in Garsdale

A bulldozer as dead as the barn it was enlisted to repair.
A bulldozer as dead as the barn it was enlisted to repair.

Yesterday I was back in Garsdale, trying to make the most of the meagre 7 hours of daylight that the Winter period affords in an effort to explore more of this oft-overlooked valley and see what neat stuff I could find.

After managing to make my way into another of the area’s many derelict farmsteads (a location destined for it’s own post sometime), I followed a trail leading Westwards, deeper into the dale, where I came upon this ruined field barn1that’s obviously been subject to some kind of attempt at restoration. Stone slates sit atop a low scaffolding erected against the side of the structure facing the road, and the wooden beams inside (low enough to hit your head on), though now rotted through exposure, I’d hazard a guess were installed within the last 20 years or so.

Completing the picture, is this disintegrated bulldozer to the rear of the barn, presumably used in some capacity for building works – but now lies thoroughly deceased next to its final project. The building may yet one day be restored, but there’s no hope left for this machine after being hammered at by the elements for God knows how many years. As a tribute, I thought I’d capture the twin corpses of structure and vehicle alike, and immortalise their connection at the point of failure… or at least that’s what I’d spew if I was trying to sell this photo to someone – I’m not so sure there’s much of a market for photos of rusty old metal, but hey, I live in hope.

Pixie Cup lichen (Cladonia pyxidata) being sustained by the barn's rotting timbers.
Pixie Cup lichen (Cladonia pyxidata) being sustained by the barn's rotting timbers.

As a sidenote – while I was taking this photo an angry looking farmer on a quad bike hailed me from the road and asked me what on earth I thought I was doing. I confirmed I was just hiking through and he seemed satisfied… or at least I thought so, until he started following me in the adjacent field as I headed on up the footpath. Once at the top of the incline he pulled up next to me, and softened in his attitude upon seeing my camera and backpack with water, tripod .etc – and explained that there’d been a spate of thefts recently and he was understandably slightly paranoid that I might be scouting out his machinery to steal when night fell. I sympathised and then went on my way, secretly glad he hadn’t spotted me in the aforementioned farmhouse – that might have been slightly more difficult to explain…

  1. The Yorkshire Dales is littered with hundreds of these old barns – the majority in varying states of ruination. They were once used for sheltering animals and for the storage of forage over the Winter period without needing to transport them back to the farmstead (often a considerable distance away). More efficient modern methods for producing Winter feed and sheltering livestock have now made them largely redundant so most now form pretty, picturesque ruins all over the rugged landscape.
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