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A view of total magnificence – an accidental happening of being in the right place at the right time to see a Herdwick Gathering in the Lake District !

The Great Yorkshire Show of 2013 was the 20th Anniversary of my taking the Middlesmoor flock to show.

We all had a really excellent time. The tup I had bought from Stanley Jackson the preceding autumn – and had taken through the awful March snows – came First and Herdwick male champion. 


A set of twins off him and one of my ewes came First and Second in their classes,


and one of my all time favorite ewes – affectionately known as 351 !  came second in her Ewe class – at 5 years old ! and then won a 'Special' rosette representing Herdwicks in the Wool class – and is now know at home as 'the special one' !

Two shearlings I took to the Show really didn’t like being there and spent the entire time waiting pensively to go home…..

Gallery of earlier years

Below is one of my best ewes, here a 3-shear, with twins – a gimmer and a tup. The family were taken to the Show in 2011 and mum won first in the ewe class and Reserve female, her son won best in the tup lamb class and Reserve male, and the daughter came third in the gimmer lamb class !
The ewe is a great grand daughter of a Turner hall ewe, sired with Mathew's tup, a grandson from my own tup of the original Harry Hinde blood line.

herdwicksheep  herdwicksheep

herdwicksheep  herdwicksheep

Other ewes were also clipped in June, still with their lambs.
herdwicksheep  herdwicksheep

herdwicksheep  herdwicksheep

Gimmer lambs from the 2011 season now separated from their mothers.

herdwicksheep  herdwicksheep


Ewes drying their milk up on the high moorland, all quite pulled down from feeding their lambs for 5 months.

herdwick sheep  herdwick sheep

herdwick sheep  herdwicksheep

For the breeding season 2010 / 11, I used four quite distinctive tups, one home bred and shown at the Great Yorkshire Show, one bred by Kevin Wrathall, one bred by Margaret Gass / Frank Hindemoor off a George Harryman tup, and one bred by Matthew Lawson off a tup I had bred from a Harry Hinde bloodline.

2011 lambs

Lambs from the April this year – the weather was fantastic for lambing outside – kind temperatures covered mistakes – whether of the shepherd or the shearling trying to work out the details of motherhood.

lambs 2011 lambs 2011
mothers 2011

Lovely mothers – just some of the many favorites in the flock !

mothers 2011 mothers 2011 mothers 2011
Shearling ewes 2009

These were shearlings in 2010 and were put to tups in autumn last year for  first time lambing in April 2011.. I kept more than 20 of them, given I really had got to know them through all the snows of 2009/10, and had also liked their parents.

They turned out to be superb mothers this spring and have produced some excellent lambs.

gimmer hogs 2010-11

These are  the gimmer hogs of the 2010/11 season. I have over wintered more than 30 of them but will have to sell some to prevent an ever expanding Herdwick universe!

gimmers 2010-11 gimmers 2010-11
Shearling ewes 2009These were shearling ewes in 2009, bred from a variety of tups including one from Turner Hall and the one known affectionately as Bruce Willis. For breeding they were put to four different tups including those purchased from Kevin Wrathall.
shearling ewes 2009 shearling ewes 2009 shearling ewes 2009
Gimmer hoggs in Spetember 2009These were gimmer lambs/hogs of the 2009/10 season. I decided to keep almost 40 of them over winter to see what they would turn out like when their coats were taken off in July! Fortunately many of my very best golden oldie ewes had  twin gimmer lambs that  lambing season their quality can be seen in the first photo.
gimmer hoggs 2009 gimmer hoggs 2009 gimmer hoggs 2009
nicholson-11These two home bred shearling rams that were shown at the Great Yorkshire Show 2009, one won Best Shearling and Reserve Champion, the other came fourth (but I personally like him the best!). Their sire was a Turner Hall tup bought from Anthony Hartley and their mothers were both home bred. The one on the left has been sold to a breeder in the Lake District and the one on the right is being  used at Middlesmoor - both are registered.
New tup shearlings bred by Kevin WrathallThese two tup shearlings bred by Kevin Wrathall in Cumbria were bought for the 2009 tupping season. They are half brothers off a Turner Hall tup - but are really very different to one another.
New tup shearlings New tup shearlings New tup shearlings
Gimmer Hoggs

A selection of gimmer hogs from the 2008/09  season – with the youngsters shown as they come up to a year old on the hills.

Gimmer Hoggs Gimmer Hoggs
middlesmoor hay

I am fortunate to be able to make my own hay - this keeps the ewes, tups and youngsters living well over winter.

middlesmoor hay
no18s son-24

Ewes on the way to be selected for the different tups in the autumn 2008 breeding season.

selection of ewes for breeding to different tups selection of ewes for breeding to different tups selection of ewes for breeding to different tups
no18s son-24This tup shearling was off the ewe shown in the first thumbnail and the Stanley Jackson tup. The ewe was off the George Harryman tup. The second thumbnail is the tup shearling as a lamb, when he also won his class at the Great Yorkshire Show. The third thumbnail is him as a two shear together with the two shear off White - first named Attitude and as he got worse became known as Bruce Willis!
no18-25 no18s son-26 Bruce Willis et al
no139-20This ewe was the daughter of a ewe I bought from Tyson Hartley and was one of two female lambs. Her full sister is shown in the first thumbnail. They continued to be inseperable as shearlings and produced a first set of lambs within a couple of metres of each other and synchronised to within a few minutes. After their first lambing they went their separate ways - both producing strong lambs.The other two thumbnails show offspring of the ewe in the main photograph.
no138-21 no143-22 no143-23
no9-18This ewe was the daughter of a ewe I bought from Margaret Gass when I first started expanding my flock of Herdwicks crossed with George Harrymans tup – her half-sister has just reared triplets in 2008 at the age of six.

This was one of my favorites – a lovely little ewe that was the only female lamb produced by her mother over the entire eight years I used her for breeding! This ewe also went on to produce only tup lambs – except for one - the thumbnail showing her single as a two shear. Her daughter produced her first lamb in 2008 – a female gimmer. The photo on the home page shows the two shear grown up in April 2011 – a really beautiful sheep and superb mother

no45s daughter-17
nicholson-11This shearling ram won Best Shearling and Reserve Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show. His grandmother off Andrew Nicholson’s tup is the sheep on the right on the first thumbnail, and his mother is on the second thumbnail. The other thumbnails show him at different ages.
pink and red-8 beloveds mum-13 beloved-14 running-15
nicholson-7This is Andrew Nicholson’s tup – the first Herdwick tup I bought at the tup sales in the Lake District – many years ago now. He produced some strong excellent quality offspring – both tups and ewes and is still providing major benefits for the genetics of my flock. The first thumbnail shows two of his daughters when both were seven. The other thumbnails show George Harryman’s tup – purchased by a friend of mine, Philip Gilmartin, who kindly let me put some ewes to him. The offspring  were some excellent animals and the quality of genetics continues to be passed on via their offspring through both tups and ewes. The next thumbnail is Stanley Jackson’s tup that not only sired a Yorkshire Show winner but also produced a large number of beautiful ewes and shearlings.
pink and red-8 -9 stanley-10 Binnington Boy

The leading ewe of this group named White, won Best Herdwick female and Reserve Champion as a four year old. She was born off the founding ewe from Harry Hinde shown below and throughout her life produced superb offspring from all of the tups she was put to. Her genetics led to many prizewinners – both tups and ewes. As a safeguard for the future of the flock, I am keeping  a frozen resource of her germplasm. The thumbnails show her as a lamb, with a tup and gimmer lamb, in old age, and a two shear tup - her last male lamb - the Bruce Willis referred to below...

white lamb-3 herdwicks-4 herdwicks-5 Bruce Willis
Gerrtie and Harry-1This is one of the two founding ewes of the Middlesmoor Herdwicks. She lived to the grand old age of 15 and contributed massively to the genetic quality of the flock. In fact when she was tested in the NSP scheme, she turned out to be ARR VRQ – as luck would have it she always passed the ARR allele to her female offspring.  The inset is of Harry Hinde…the Cumbrian breeder living in North Yorkshire who bred the ewe and from whom I bought her as a shearling. He loved his Herdwicks and passed on that appreciation to others throughout Yorkshire – including me !

Farm location

middlesmoor-27Middlesmoor is at the end of the road in the back of beyond in the middle of nowhere – at the upper end of Nidderdale in North Yorkshire. There is almost always a strong wind – and the rain and snow can be horizontal. The wind smells of moorland peat and moss and the seasons are all very different and equally beautiful – from white ice to bluebells to thick meadows and the shining skies and long shadows of autumns. The sheep pastures stretch from the banks of Stean Beck to the tops of Stean Moor at 1500ft. The thumbnails show a selection of views of Middlesmoor, the surrounding countryside and Stean.

middlesmoor-28 middlesmoor-29 Stean-30 Stean-31 Stean-32 Stean-33 Stean-34
 Stean-35 middlesmoor-36 middlesmoor-37 middlesmoor-38 middlesmoor-39 middlesmoor40

Other animals

young jess-41Two dogs are well known to the sheep. The main photograph and the first set of thumbnails is of Jess - a golden retriever who is now 7; the second set of thumbnails is of Molecule - a black labrador who died at 10 and is buried on the tops of Lofthouse. The other thumbnails were diverse animal and human friends of the Molecule, together with a very nice old sheep belonging to a friend of mine and a magnificent Teeswater tup belonging to a neighbour.

Jess-42 Jess-43 Jess-44 molecule molecule molecule molecule
spaniels spaniels spaniels wolfhound beer drinkers old girl old girl
  last updated - 12/11/18       © Dianna Bowles 2018