Different ways of life collide at Countryside Live as the best of rural Yorkshire is brought to Harrogate, so having Huddersfield-raised, Dales shepherdess Amanda Owen as one of the event’s guest stars seemed entirely apt.
Having first risen to fame as a star of ITV show The Dales in 2011, Owen runs 1,000 sheep at Ravenseat, more than 1,300ft above sea level at the very top of the Yorkshire Dales and has so far authored two books about her extraordinary life as a mother-of-nine on a remote working farm.
Speaking at the show, she told of how lucky she felt to have “a foot in two different worlds”, with her journey to the show an illustration of such. Her Saturday morning began by loading a pile of her books into a pick-up that had been used the day before by her husband Clive to ferry livestock to the auction mart.
A livewire presence, Owen, who also met fans at this summer’s Great Yorkshire Show, gave entertaining on-stage talks and signed copies of her books at the showground. On her mission at Countryside Live, she said: “Hopefully try to inspire them (show visitors).
“I like talking to people. Where I live, six months of the year it’s full of visitors walking through the farm. The other six months, it’s completely cut off so I think I get the best of both worlds.”
The worst of the winter weather puts the farm in lockdown, but owing to its isolated geography the farm is without internet access year-round and only last week the family had to resort to using river water for washing up when the electricity and water supplies failed.
“It’s character building,” the shepherdess said of the challenges she faces at Ravenseat.
With a large family to look after, plus her sheep, just how does she cope? “It’s all about what’s actually important. I’m no domestic goddess, as long as there is food on the table and the children are happy and everything is going along, I’m fine with it.”
She said that while the book commissions came as a surprise “it gives me heart that there is interest in farming and the countryside”.
For the full interview with Amanda Owen, see The Yorkshire Post on Monday.