Wheysike House -Teesdale

Wheysike House

Mid winter and the afternoon light lingers, spurring thoughts of spring in the North Pennines. Back in 2010, I followed a walk from the Langdon Beck Hotel along Harwood Beck in search of the meeting of the waters. A  secret place in Upper Teesdale where the Tees and Harwood Beck shake hands in view of Wheysike House with it’s own small bubbling water. On that day sand martins and swallows performed circuits of low level flight only inches from the water. Tiny black arrows circled and turned before levelling, almost touching the surface whilst taking insects on the wing. I sat for an hour watching the display in view of Wheysike House, dwarfed by the flanks of Cronkley Fell – a wild and romantic setting befitting a Bronte novel. I’m thinking of that place now as I write this post, blue gentian and birds-eye primrose flowering the meadow. I can see wader birds that fly up from the valley, oystercatcher and curlew, golden plover and lapwings, their soaring perspective so different on this vast, empty place – yet so full of life! Spring is coming to Teesdale.


39 Replies to “Wheysike House -Teesdale”

  1. That is a huge house. Is there a story behind that house? I enlarged this because I like it so much. Your ink drawing style always interests me. I like things I find in them like that tree behind the house and all the different shapes and marks that go into the rock wall. Your values in your paint choices are very pleasing in this, Keith!

    1. I’ve searched for more information but it seems to be thin on the ground. It looks very old, a sheep farm as the ground’s unsuitable for crops. I tried really hard to impress you with this picture Leslie, I was thinking about all you’ve taught me whilst painting. I think it’s one of my better results, although it became muddy towards the end, if there ever is an end! Thanks again, really pleased with your comments.

    1. I know my ramblings are sometimes bordering pretentious- but I feel the need to write what I see as well as paint. The narrative often fits the the eye but not my representation. Thanks again Danny.

  2. Your words go so perfectly with the painting! What a huge house! Is a fell a cliff or something like it? The scene does seem wild and vast, starkly beautiful…

    1. Fell is an old Norse word for ‘mountain’, (fjall). There’s a strong Norse influence in many place names throughout Teesdale. Here’s an interesting link: names Thank you once again for visiting Barbara. I hope you and your Red Deer are okay.

  3. I’m itching to get out to Teesdale, and your reminder about what I’m missing is not helping! Last summer my Taller Half and I spent many a night camping at the Strathmore Arms, not that many miles from the spot you describe – the geography looks very familiar!

    Surely it’s too early for the Spring Gentian to be in flower? I hope you’re just anticipating, as I’m determined to spot some this year! Last year I arrived too late.

    1. Ah Yasmine, I know the Strathmore Arms very well having camped behind the pub since the age of 14. That particular spot is one of my favourites. I’ll send you a list of Natural England’s event programme (as soon as I finish it). It would be great if you could come on one of our walks to see the spring gentian. Yes, a bit early at the moment, just my anticipation 🙂

  4. Ooooh… Wuthering Heights-esque maybe? I’m captivated, by the beauty of the painting and by the word picture you have created to accompany it. The scene is enchanting and I find myself pulled into it, wishing I could go explore it in all it’s glory. Hooray for spring!! 🙂

    1. * just checked your tweets… you sketchbook really is lost? 😦 I am sooo soooo sorry Keith. That is horrible to hear… *sigh*

  5. I really like the repeated horizontals of your composition. A great shamble of an old building with lots of stories to tell. On a bird note, we’re just starting to get our first Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds. A more accurate sign of spring than any television weather report.

  6. Wow, that is one big house. Bet they have maids in there. I should be so lucky. hehe.
    Love the painting, Keith. As always I am so drawn in by your style; so you, so unique. Excellent!

  7. It’s true that your writing conjours up a sense of being there. It sounds very idyllic. It contrasts with the bleakness of the visual scene. I like the repeating horizontals in your composition. The stone building also appeals to me.
    I always find it fascinating how the change of season varies from place to place & even quite locally as well. Here in Hendaye we’ve got lots of primroses flowering in the garden & palmate newts in the pond- not any swallows yet though.

  8. You’ve got me curious about what ice flowers are. I’ve not heard of them & can’t find them in any of my wildflower guides or on Google. (Apart from flowers with actual ice on them! And I’m sure that’s not what you meant!). Do you know what the scientific name is? Or maybe I should just be patient & wait till you paint us some.

    1. Sonya, ‘ice flowers’, is a term given to Arctic Alpines that thrive in the North Pennines. Spring is the best time to find them. Gentian, is an iconic flower to Teesdale and only grows in two places in the British Isles. Alpine forget-me-not is another very rare flower. Some of the plants that grow on the sugar limestone are relics from the period immediately following the last ice age- hence the term ‘ice flowers’.

  9. Thank-you, that’s really interesting. I just looked up Arctic Alpines on Wiki & it took me straight to Teesdale! I’m glad some of your area is protected. I wonder if your gentian is the one with the intense blue bell shaped flowers? I saw some flowering the other day in the mountains. Or would it be the tall yellow gentian? Probably not on second thought, because that flowers more in summer.

  10. Love this painting. This is my family’s old home from many years ago. I also have a painting of this house in my home in
    West Virginia

    1. Well I’m really pleased you got in touch, as there’s very little on the internet on Wheysike House, or even written. If you’d like to get in touch and let me know more of your time living there I’d be fascinated to hear.

    2. Hello sworkman, I am just wondering if your family are the Scott family as I have just found out that my ancestor’s built a house called Wheysike House near Middleton on Tees and I have seen a picture of the house and it looks pretty similar to the house in this picture. We don’t have much information on these ancestors and would like to find out more.
      A response would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

      1. Hi, we’re not the Scott family I’m afraid, and there doesn’t seem to be much on google about the house. It must be one and the same as their isn’t another house for miles with that name.
        Let me know if you need anything else. I have some recent pictures I could send.

      2. Would love to hear from you. I just now saw this response. I am so wanting to find out more about my Scott ancestors from England

  11. Thanks for your reply. It’s just a shame we don’t know more about the house and the people that lived there and built it.

  12. Hi Sharon, do you have any information on them and do you know if they are connected with this house? My family haven’t been able to obtain any information on the Scotts that may have built this house.

    1. I have a little information on my great grandfather that lived there. I would love to find out how our ancestors may be connected. If you would like to email me maybe we can find out more

      1. I would be grateful if you could email me any information you have on your family including your great-grandad to find put how they are related and I will e-mail you the information we have and speak to my uncle as he has been doing a lot of research. My email address is rachelfiona90@hotmail.co.uk

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