Countryfile – Young Shepherdess – As summer unfolds, Sammi Kinghorn makes her return to the picturesque landscapes of Cumbria, eager to catch up with young shepherdess Katie. Since finishing her school year, Katie hasn’t had a moment’s respite. Even though many consider summer a time for vacation, for Katie, it’s a period dedicated to the meticulous care of her livestock and the myriad of maintenance tasks that beckon her attention around the expansive farm.
An integral part of their rendezvous was a visit to a specific segment of the farm where Katie has collaborated extensively with the Woodland Trust. Together, they’ve embarked on a mission to understand and implement best practices aimed at bolstering biodiversity, ensuring that the land thrives and flourishes for generations to come.
The journey doesn’t stop there for Sammi. She takes the time to explore the nearby Lowther Castle, a historical marvel that stands just a stone’s throw away. At present, the castle grounds are abuzz with activity. A monumental project has been initiated to mend the ties between the estate and its inherent natural surroundings, ties that were severed long ago due to Victorian-era engineering practices. This ambitious undertaking encompasses vast landscape transformations and the crucial reintroduction of pivotal wetlands species, marking a significant stride toward ecological conservation.
Parallelly, the diligent staff at the neighboring RSPB Leighton Moss reserve are immersed in their annual ritual. They’re meticulously trimming back the sprawling reed beds, a necessary endeavor to promote an environment where avian life can thrive. These reed beds are not just an ecological cornerstone but also a magnet, drawing innumerable bird enthusiasts and nature lovers to the reserve year after year.
To delve deeper into pressing environmental concerns, Tom Heap seeks to uncover the reasons behind an alarming trend: a record number of salmon facing premature deaths in fish farms. He probes into the repercussions of this troubling trend and questions its potential implications on the very future of the aquaculture industry. On a lighter note, Adam is all set to introduce us to the last two contenders gearing up for a spectacular showdown in this year’s edition of “One Man and His Dog.” A thrilling culmination awaits!
Countryfile – Young Shepherdess
As summer unfurls across the idyllic landscapes of Cumbria, Sammi Kinghorn makes her long-awaited return, eager to reconnect with young shepherdess Katie. With the school year now behind her, Katie hasn’t paused for a moment’s rest. Though many may view summer as a time for relaxation, for Katie it’s a period wholly dedicated to the meticulous care of her livestock and the myriad maintenance tasks beckoning around the sprawling farm.
An integral part of their reunion is a visit to a particular area of the farm where Katie has worked extensively with the Woodland Trust. Together, they have embarked on a mission to understand and implement best practices to bolster biodiversity, ensuring the land thrives for generations.
Sammi’s journey doesn’t end there. She takes time to explore the nearby Lowther Castle, a historical gem situated just a stone’s throw away. Currently, the castle grounds are abuzz with activity. A monumental project has been initiated to mend ties between the estate and its natural surroundings, connections severed long ago due to Victorian-era engineering. This ambitious undertaking encompasses vast landscape transformations and the crucial reintroduction of pivotal wetland species, marking a significant stride toward ecological conservation.
In parallel, diligent staff at the neighboring RSPB Leighton Moss reserve are immersed in their annual ritual – meticulously trimming back the sprawling reedbeds, a necessary endeavor to nurture an environment where avian life can flourish. These reedbeds are not just an ecological cornerstone, but a magnet drawing countless bird enthusiasts and nature lovers to the reserve each year.
To delve deeper into pressing environmental issues, Tom Heap seeks to uncover reasons behind an alarming trend: record salmon deaths at fish farms. He probes the implications of this troubling development and its potential impact on the aquaculture industry’s future.
On a lighter note, Adam is ready to introduce the last two contenders gearing up for a spectacular showdown in this year’s “One Man and His Dog.” A thrilling culmination awaits!
The Life of a Young Shepherdess
For young shepherdess **Katie**, each day presents its own unique demands and rewards. Responsible for over 500 sheep across expansive pastures, her work is both physically exhausting and mentally engaging. Rising at dawn, Katie begins by inspecting the flock for new lambs and signs of illness. Special attention must be paid to ewes nearing labor and their vulnerable young.
Regular tasks include herding sheep between grazing pastures, dosing for parasites, and foot trimming. During lambing season, Katie assists with difficult births and hand-rears orphaned lambs. She monitors livestock meticulously to spot health issues early and provide timely treatment.
Life as a shepherdess requires dedication, patience, and adaptability. The sheep’s needs come first, regardless of weather or personal fatigue. Katie finds great satisfaction caring for the flock and watching lambs grow, describing the bond with her sheep as “magical.” Witnessing new life emerge sustains her through long days.
For leisure, Katie enjoys outdoorsy pursuits like horse-riding, walking, and wild swimming. Living rurally, she relishes Cumbria’s beautiful open spaces. However, she admits the isolated location can be challenging at times for a young woman. Social media helps her connect with others in the farming community.
Katie hopes to remain a shepherdess, eventually taking over the family farm. She’s passionate about promoting women in agriculture and inspiring other young people to consider a rural career. However, she emphasizes the importance of experience before committing fully, and recommends trying seasonal work first.
Cumbria: The Lake District’s Scenic Wonderland
The county of **Cumbria** in northwest England harbors some of Britain’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Encompassing the scenic **Lake District** and a portion of the Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation and sightseeing. Rolling hills, rugged mountains, glassy lakes, and quaint villages characterize the region.
Cumbria’s largest settlement is the city of Carlisle, famed for its medieval castle and cathedral. However, the county’s main appeal lies in its natural splendor. The Lake District alone boasts 16 major lakes, including Windermere, England’s largest. Picturesque towns like Ambleside and Keswick make ideal bases for exploring the area.
Hiking and fell walking are extremely popular, with highlights including the summits of Scafell Pike, Helvellyn, and Catbells. Cycling, kayaking, sailing, and open water swimming are favored lake activities. Cumbria also offers excellent climbing, with renowned crags at Wasdale and Borrowdale. Birdwatching thrives, especially at nature reserves like RSPB Leighton Moss.
Visitors flock to Cumbria year-round, but spring and fall are best for avoiding crowds. Warm, dry summers attract peak numbers. Fortunately, Cumbria’s breadth allows ample space to bask in the surroundings. Just be prepared for changeable weather!
Lowther Castle: From Abandonment to Restoration
On the outskirts of Penrith stands the imposing ruin of **Lowther Castle**, once home to the Earls of Lonsdale. After centuries of habitation, the stunning Gothic-Revival castle was sadly abandoned in the 1950s. However, an ambitious restoration project now aims to revive both the structure and its grounds.
Lowther’s origins harken back to the medieval era, but it reached its zenith in the 19th century under the direction of landscape architect William Sawrey Gilpin. He masterminded the creation of the castle’s 120-acre gardens, integrating spectacular vistas of the surrounding Lake District fells.
However, the post-WW2 decline left the estate neglected. Declared unsafe, Lowther Castle was vacated in 1957. For decades it sat eerily empty, while its gardens became overgrown. Recently though, a major £9 million conservation initiative has commenced seeking to revive the site.
Stabilizing and re-opening the castle is a key goal, along with replanting long-lost garden features. But the project’s central focus is restoring the estate’s disrupted relationship with nature. Efforts are underway to re-introduce native trees, improve waterways, and create wetland habitats that suffered under Victorian drainage works.
The reconnection of Lowther to its wild surroundings will boost biodiversity and allow people to experience the estate as it once was – seamlessly integrated into Lakeland’s sweeping vistas. When renovations finish around 2023, visitors will again admire magnificent views from the castle while exploring its rich history.
RSPB Leighton Moss: A Birdwatching Haven
Located just south of the Lake District lies 335 hectare **RSPB Leighton Moss** nature reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in northwest England. Managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Leighton Moss shelters a mosaic of reedbeds, woodlands, and wetlands.
This diverse habitat attracts a spectacular array of birds. Leighton Moss is the only UK breeding site for the bittern, a master of camouflage among reeds. Other noteworthy residents include marsh harriers, bearded tits, and Britain’s largest heronry. Come winter, the reserve draws thousands of wildfowl like whooper swans fleeing colder climes.
Spring and summer bring nesting season. As birds court and rear young, the reedbeds come alive with song and activity. But maintaining ideal breeding conditions requires annual maintenance work. RSPB staff busily cut vegetation in select areas to encourage dense, short growth where warblers and other passerines can safely nest.
While some birds prefer tall, screening reeds, short stretches are needed too. Rotational cutting creates patches of varied height and density across the reserve. It’s labour-intensive work done carefully to minimize disturbance. However, the rewards are evident in thriving avian populations that enthrall enthusiastic birdwatchers.
Beyond birds, Leighton Moss offers 3 miles of trails for walking and cycling. Five strategically-placed hides allow visitors to discreetly observe wildlife. Discover this ecological gem in person or remotely via live cameras broadcasting real-time feeds from the reserve.
The Salmon Mortality Crisis in Aquaculture
Alarming reports have recently emerged of escalating deaths among farmed salmon. In Scotland alone, nearly 2.6 million salmon perished prematurely in 2021. Experts have cited myriad factors possibly underlying this crisis.
In crowded net pens, infectious diseases can spread rapidly. Pathogens like sea lice thrive when immune-weakened fish are under constant stress. Rising sea temperatures also exacerbate physiological strain. Scientists suspect climate change is worsening heat susceptibility, also triggering harmful algal blooms.
Poor nutrition and genetics may also leave salmon vulnerable. But a complex interplay of issues is likely at fault, necessitating urgent investigation. These worrisome salmon losses jeopardize economic and environmental sustainability. However, solutions exist to curb rising mortality.
Stricter controls on sea lice and other pathogens are clearly needed. Improved pen designs that allow greater water flow can help too. Ultimately, the industry may need to transition from high-density offshore systems to lower-impact methods like recirculating aquaculture on land.
The stakes are high in addressing this crisis.However evermparing practices across countries provides useful insights. Norway’s strict regulation of farm stocking density offers a model for reducing infectious outbreaks. Scotland’s own farmed salmon industry stands at a crossroads, where proactive changes today safeguard its future.
This glimpse into the rural world of Cumbria, its ecological treasures, and concerning environmental trends reveals the close interconnections between nature and human activity. As shepherdess Katie’s dedication shows, balancing agriculture, conservation, and sustainability requires passion, patience, and cooperation. Though challenges exist in issues like farmed salmon mortality, they also present opportunities to rethink unsustainable practices. If initiatives like Lowther Castle’s restoration can heal long-standing rifts between the built and natural landscape, it illustrates that living harmoniously within our surroundings is possible with care, creativity, and will. The responsibility ultimately lies with all who dwell in and cherish this landscape to become conscientious stewards, so its beauty and biodiversity persist for generations to come.
FAQ – Countryfile – Young Shepherdess
What is the life of a young shepherdess like?
The life of a shepherdess revolves around dutifully caring for sheep and lambs through tasks like herding, health checks, birthing assistance, and andrearing orphaned lambs. It involves early mornings, long days outdoors in all weather, and patient dedication. While demanding, it offers deep bonds with the flock and satisfaction in sustaining an agricultural tradition.
What challenges does a shepherdess face?
Challenges include physical exhaustion, isolation living rurally, and gender barriers in a male-dominated profession. Unpredictable weather and animal health issues can also make tasks more difficult. Work-life balance can be hard to maintain.
Why is Lowther Castle being restored?
Lowther Castle is undergoing major restoration to stabilize and reopen the abandoned 19th-century structure while revitalizing its long-neglected gardens and surrounding landscape. A key goal is to reconnect the estate more harmoniously with nature by improving habitats and biodiversity.
How are reedbeds managed at Leighton Moss?
Reedbeds at Leighton Moss Nature Reserve are carefully managed through rotational cutting that creates a mosaic of reed growth heights and densities optimal for different bird species. This vital yearly maintenance supports successful breeding within the large heronry and other avian populations.
What factors are causing increased salmon deaths at fish farms?
Increased salmon mortality on farms stems from a combination of infectious disease, high water temperatures, overcrowding stress, and poor nutrition. Climate change and unsustainable farming practices exacerbate these issues. More regulation, lower density systems and new technologies may be needed.