Ramblers Walking Holidays

The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District

Blog post   •   Oct 24, 2016 10:39 BST

Perhaps you’ve read (or intend to read) this book by James Rebanks, which has become a rather unlikely bestseller. It’s an account not just of one shepherd's year, but of an ancient way of life told from the point of view of the shepherds who have worked the fells in the same way for centuries. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons, and a Viking would understand the work they do, which is centred on their flocks and the landscape. The people who work the Lakeland fells are as hefted to the land as their flocks of sturdy native Herdwick sheep are.

Herdwicks roam freely in the grounds of Hassness House, our country house hotel in Buttermere in the heart of the Lake District, and their lamb is on the menu. Brian, Carole and Ruby, who run Hassness with love and dedication, are proud to use Lakeland farms and producers to source the ingredients that go into their hearty breakfasts, home-made cakes and slap-up three-course dinners. Herdwick lamb, milk and ice-cream come from Syke Farm, about a mile away in Buttermere, and the dairy produce comes from the farmer’s flock of Buttermere Ayrshire cows. Pork and beef come from Wigton, fish from Syne Fish in Buttermere, cheese and vegetables from Cockermouth. Even the recipe for Ruby’s famous teabread is local, from the Borrowdale Women’s Institute – no wonder it’s so popular with Hassness guests!

If you’re inspired to see the shepherd’s life for yourself, Hasness House is the ideal base to explore the Lake District.