What a fascinating read!
Amanda Owen is a shepherdess on a 2000-acre remote hill farm in the heart of Swaledale. Amanda not only has 1,000 sheep to care for but also eight children!
The book tracks the seasons and gives a touching insight into her life. As a working mum, I was intrigued by the logistics of the school run (for the older ones a four hour, mile round trip) and of feeding such a large number of children, especially when getting snowed in means being properly isolated for days at a time!
Amanda juggles it all with good humour and charm, which are clearly skills she has needed in order to achieve her dream of farming and succeed at it on such inaccessible land.
The book is a great insight into the challenges the farm faces and the clever ways these are overcome. It is a must for anyone who loves the seasons and it also provides a real lesson into how the weather affects both farming and life in such an isolated location.
Amanda gives a great description of the physical effects of running such a remote farm house. She describes being left at the end of lambing season ‘emotionally and physically drained’ with ‘an indescribable weariness’. Completely understandable for the reader having felt they have lived the lambing season with her.
Amanda writes with warmth and humour as she describes the two-day journey of a sheep in search of her lamb and how she gave a new home to an ageing, neglected horse. Her stories about husband Clive and their children are equally heart-warming.
A brilliant read, uplifting and a fabulous insight into an amazing person.
by Sally Togher, Senior Associate Solicitor, Employment
Amanda Owen appeared at Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival on Sunday 22nd October.