Owen Acton lives in Leyburn. His parents do not farm but his grandfather does have a farm, and Owen helps out there regularly. He’s fifteen and has just bought his first Beltex ewe, which he hopes will produce a good lamb (or two) next year.
This summer, Owen spent a week on Thwaite Bridge Farm near Hawes with John Bland where he learnt how to clip sheep ‘properly’. Owen has a dog called Mist, and John helped him train her to work more effectively.
’On the hills, she used to go through the middle of sheep, and you didn’t really want that – you want her as far away as possible, and then going round another set of sheep, and bring them to you, but she’d take them away in different directions. So what John was trying to get her to do was to get her to stop, properly, get her to lie down. You could go round some sheep while she stayed there.’
After finishing his GCSEs in 2018, Owen hopes to go to agricultural college part time, and combine this with work on the farm. He sees his future in farming, here in the Yorkshire Dales. ‘Definitely here. I could find some better land down Northallerton way but this is where I’ve been brought up, so I’m sticking here.’