This is not just testament to Richard and Pauline's eye(s) but also the incredible number of artists and makers in Yorkshire. I remember some years ago suggesting to many B&B owners that maybe it would be better to display a picture of the local area by a local artist rather than a bright sunset from an exotic holiday, and to show visitors just how beautiful our area is. At that time, the response was nearly always 'we don't know any'. No excuses now with so many fantastic artists and plentiful places to buy their work.
Muker's name sounds odd and many stumble to pronounce it - it's 'mew-ker' and supposedly means the 'narrow newly cultivated field'. Muker's fields have aged a little since it was originally so named but the fields are certainly narrow. One of Swaledale's distinctive features is the presence of countless relatively small fields, many beautiful lush hay meadows.
I'll wax lyrical about Muker's many beauties soon (I'm obsessed with the bicycle-riding vicar, given the terrain and the quality of bikes at the time - more about this another day) but for now, let's stay among the artistic creations in the Old School Gallery. In addition to the cards, prints, gifts that you might expect to see, there's a changing programme of exhibitions and work by known and emerging artists.
Gallery owner Richard Walls describes himself as a "wanderer, wonderer and photographer", which I think is a lovely thing to be. He now also runs 1:1 tuition for those who want to improve their photography skills. Delicious cake and coffee are on offer, and on a fine day you can enjoy them outside in the private walled garden looking out at views of Kisdon and the Buttertubs, as you also admire sculptures by Michael Kusz and Adrian Wood.
All images by Richard Walls.