Updated: Apr 4, 2021
What do you imagine, when you picture Hill Top Haven? I'm sure it includes the views, the dry stone walls and maybe the sheep in the fields surrounding us. But what about the sounds? What do you imagine if I invite you to close your eyes, and just listen?
Firstly, what DON'T you hear? As you might imagine, you don't hear the roar of traffic. You don't hear crowds of people all talking together, raising their voices to try and be heard over each other. You don't hear buses coming and going. You don't hear the whizz and burr (is that a word?) of machinery from the building work around the corner.
For some people, these sounds are actually a joy. However the chances are that, if you're looking at this site, you're after some peace and quiet.
You might imagine that you hear absolutely nothing except blissful silence.
But listen closer. It's never completely silent.
Perhaps you can hear the lapwings. There are many of them soaring on the breezes in the fields below us, as I sit and write. They're also called 'peewits' because of the sound that they make, with the emphasis on the 'wit' - 'peeWIT' 'peeWIT'.
Occasionally you hear one of the grouse in the moorland around us. The Weardale Estate owns the land around us, and the land is tended to encourage them.
Being on a hill (not quite the top of the hill that our name implies 'Hill Top') we quite frequently have wind. Let's cross fingers that when you're here, we have the warmer wind from the West, rather than the colder wind from the East. There aren't any trees directly around us, so there isn't any rustling - but listen carefully, and you can still hear it rustling through the grasses or across the slate roof.
When the wind is blowing the wind turbine is turning - free, environmentally friendly energy. When the wind is really up, the turbine turns like a whirling dervish, whistling its energy. Occasionally we have some magnificent storms up here. The wind howls around the house. Depending on the direction it comes from, it may clatter against the window of your room. Don't worry - you'll survive. Think of it as an adventure :-)
When we don't have enough wind or sun, the generator comes on. We will be trying to make sure that this disrupts your stay here as little as possible. It's located towards the back of the property, so shouldn't disturb your usage of the terrace too much. We aim to make sure that the generator is on at times that it will least disturb you, such as when you're out, or asleep. When we hear the generator, we just hear 'yay! we've got power!'
We also have a smattering of chickens and a very cute young cockerel called Tim. Tim is a polish x silkie cockerel, and likes cuddles! He does crow, but it's actually quite cute. It's not too loud, and it doesn't wake us up in the morning. Your window is also triple glazed, to keep heat in and cold and unwanted sounds out.
Finally, on beautiful sunny days you might hear the occasional zip of a motorbike enjoying a ride through the Weardale roads. It's a very quiet road - with hardly any traffic - the occasional car, tractor or farmer's quad bike. When you see how gorgeous the road and the view is, you won't blame the bikers being out in their leathers.
So, when you're sitting on our terrace, overlooking the view, close your eyes and really listen. What can you hear? The very act of sitting quietly and listening is mindful and peaceful, and will hopefully leave you refreshed.