Easegill Head Farm, Cumbria

Stay Lambing Live in CumbriaI suspect it is a rare person who looks for and finds a place to work while they are on a trip, but but nothing surprises me to find out what constitutes  a holiday for Rob. Easegill Head Farm in Cumbria belongs to a family that raises sheep.  They have a guest cottage available for anyone who would be interested  in staying, and participating, in the routine of the farm. This farm was featured in a very popular 5 part series filmed by the BBC in 2011, called Lambing Live.

birthday 2I had lots of questions to ask when I first saw his pictures.  What do the colored dots mean? The color on the backside of a ewe indicates which ram is responsible for her pregnancy.  How do they possibly keep track of this?  During mating season, each ram has an identifying color repeatedly applied to his chest. This is a farming version of kiss and tell. Color on the front of a ewe indicates how many babies she is carrying.  A pregnant ewe needs extra food.  A ewe with multiple lambs coming needs lots of extra food.  What is Rob doing with an orange bag? The sheep recognize a feed bag, and will follow anyone who is carrying one. His main job, separating the ewes with 1, 2, or 3 lambs on the way.

Swaledale sheepTheir prize sheep are known as Swaledale sheep.  They are found throughout the mountainous regions of England. They are one of three distinct breeds associated with sheep farming in the Lake District. They can be identified by their curling horns (both the males and females have them), their off white wool, and the white markings on their faces and around their eyes.

Scotland 2015  11As a breed, they are noted for their ability to thrive in exposed locations with inhospitable winters.  In general, they do not need to be raised indoors, but for lambing time. The ewes are exceptionally good Moms, and look after their lambs. A ewe who does not become pregnant will, on her own, go back to the original ram for a second mating.  Extraordinary, this.

Scotland 2015  8Their flock numbers around 1100 now.

Scotland 2015 9
The sheep farmers in the area all have the right to graze their sheep on what amounts to common land.  Each farmer takes responsibility for culling out the sheep that belong to a neighbor, so they can be returned to their rightful owner.

birthday 3Looks like this trip suited Rob.

Scotland 2015  10The landscape, the sheep, and the moody winter weather-this had to have been an unforgettable experience.

Scottish highlands 2

Scotland 2015  7

Scottish ponies

sheep in Cumbria 2015

sheep in Cumbria 2015  3

Scottish sheep 2015

trip to Scotland 2015

easegill-head-farm.jpgin case you would like to visit…



  1. Well done Rob! Looks like you are a natural!

    Best wishes from a bit further south from Cumbria

    Ros in Kent

  2. mollie duvall says

    What stunning images of the farm animals. Timeless and beautiful. Thank you so much for posting.

  3. As the proud pet-parent of a beloved Lakeland Terrier, I love seeing seeing pictures from The Lake District. Lakelands were originally bred to help protect sheep in the Lake District by hunting their predators (like foxes). Thanks for sharing the pictures and commentary!

  4. Oh my, I would love to be present when they are lambing, even though it means very long days and weeks. I love this part of England, even in wintertime. Lucky man to have found the opportunity.

  5. I love the picture of the Highland cow. It is my favorite bovine. Leave it to Robert to find a beautiful spot.

  6. Debra,

    thank you! Rob’s pictures and your explanations are truly special. I have been enjoying your writing for some time now, what a talent you are! Love Detroit Garden Works and everything you, Rob and your team do, Cannot wait to see what will be blooming at Detroit Garden Works this spring.

  7. Thank you for always sending us a fabuloso missive to be found in my inbox. If you look at today’s Google Doodle in honor of the Lunar New Year, the fuzzy fellow butting the tree with the lantern has curling horns just like the Swaledale. Rob is jewel. You too.

    Stay warm!

    • Thank you Marguerite for expressing many of my same thoughts. Rob is a jewel, and Deborah too. Deborah, your posts are my very most favorite things to read on all of the web.

      • Deborah Silver says

        wow Jen-thanks so much. Letters like this keep me writing, and posting. But these last two posts are all about Rob-his itch to travel in a way that means something, and his astonishingly beautiful photographs. All the best, Deborah

  8. Incredible! I’m so envious of his travels. I’d spend my Winters with those any time.

  9. What a great experience!!! I love the coloring
    on the sheep. Love the horses too.

    Enjoy !
    Jane and Joel

  10. Thank you for the beautiful photos. Your website is a treat I found quite by accident a few months ago and have been enjoying ever since.

  11. Loved everyone of those great animal photos! The explanation of the bright colors on the sheep is so logical and practical. The farmers must really love their sheep.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Starr, those sheep, and that landscape makes for a life for this family. I think Rob really enjoyed being in their midst for a few days. best, Deborah

  12. These photos look as if they could have been taken over 100 years ago. The color and textures of sky, sheep and land are wonderful beyond compare.

  13. What beautiful, deep, textured colors and images. Really nice: thanks so much for sharing these!

  14. What better sight than a flock of ‘rainbow’ sheep. Love it. x

  15. Wilma Pacey says

    More fantastic photos!!! Your blog is better than any book on the market. Thanks.

  16. What wonderful pics; thanks for sharing. Always so informative. And what a great concept that the public can come and stay and assist on the farm. Will definitely keep it handy!

  17. Wow, I adore visiting your blog for gardening inspiration and an experts eye view on gardening in my home state of Michigan in particular, but what a surprise to see a post on Cumbria, one of my favorite places on earth. There is something so special about a cold blustery day on the fells – thank you!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Deborah, I now know that Cumbria is one of the greatest places on earth. Thanks for your letter, Deborah

  18. Little did I know that when Rob visited our farm that he would write something all about his stay with us, you have been listening very well!! We love our way of life on the Cumbrian hills and it is a real privilege to share it with others.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Rachel, it is to great to hear from you. He did not stop talking about his trip for weeks.It made a profound impression on him, in the best possible way. I did the writing, but the ideas and the feelings- and the pictures came from him. best regards, Deborah

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