By now the lambing season in the Lake District is well underway but on our arrival two weeks ago, just a few tiny lambs could be spotted playing in the fields and darting across the hillside. We had planned to visit Charlotte Chaplin’s farm tucked away in a quiet corner at the southernmost tip of Lake Windermere. As it turned out we were a few days early for lambing and her ladies were still grazing peacefully in the glorious lakeland sunshine with no apparent sense of urgency, determined to let nature run its course.
In anticipation of the new families arriving, we joined Charlotte to herd the flocks into the lower sweeter fields, closer to the farm house where Charlotte could keep a watchful eye. Observing Charlotte interact with the flock of Herdwick, feeding some of her favourites by hand and attentively checking on the mothers who had strayed from the flock, it soon became apparent that farming for Charlotte is not just something she does but, something she lives and breathes. Seeing first hand, her great love of the land and of her animals explains why sheep farming, and the entire way of life that comes with it, is something which Charlotte willingly commits to with unwavering devotion.
Despite the many and varied demands of the lambing season, Charlotte speaks of the welcome change in routine that this time of the year brings and of the luxury that comes from putting life's other demands and distractions, literally on hold for a while. “To be honest, it’s actually a luxury for me to be able to give up everything else for six weeks and focus only on lambing’.
In a world where we are constantly juggling, when our days rarely centre around one certain thing, this is a sentiment that truly resonates. The coming weeks will be consumed by the delivery of lambs, cleaning stalls, feeding, washing, keeping records, coping with complications and getting up countless times through the long nights. For Charlotte though, we sense that maintaining a singular focus for a while and seeing a healthy new flock in the spring sunshine, makes all the hard work, sleep deprivation and stress, worthwhile.
It was really an absolute pleasure to have been able to spend time with Charlotte on her farm and perhaps a lucky turn of events that we did not have to interrupt her when the lambing season was in full swing.
With gratitude to Charlotte Chaplin xx