Chris Akrigg is the owner of Manor Farm, Cray, and Kidstones Farm, and invited us (through an approach by Frances Bland) to learn of a typical year on a hill farm, and it was illuminating. Kidstones is much modernised and expanded, but Mr. Akrigg explained his continued use of the well-built old barns, and a field barn which still reveals evidence of 17th century cruck construction. Manor Farm at Cray, perched above Langstrothdale, alongside steep Cray Gill, retains much of its early structure, including outside privies strategically placed next to the
Gill’s ever-tumbling cascade.

We were well-alerted to a hill farmer’s pressured seasonal necessities in stock maintenance, feed, marketing, weather, and just keeping up. This area was all part of the great Langstrothdale Chase in Norman times, owned by the Percys of Northumberland, succeeded by the Cliffords eventually. Buckden was the headquarters of a vast deer forest, Cray being one of the hunting lodges.