Tek Care, Lambs Ont’ Road
Although the weather may have been unseasonably cold this year, with winter rudely intruding into spring, this doesn’t affect some of the other rhythms of nature. Lambing in the Lake District continues regardless of the rain and snow. This provides an additional headache for fell farmers who need to make sure that vulnerable ewes and their young offspring are properly cared for in the rough conditions.
Herdwick sheep are known to be one of the toughest breeds on the fells (mountains), and can withstand most of what Mother Nature throws at them, but even they need a helping hand from time to time. Herdwicks lamb later in the season, too, which also helps.
There is nothing sweeter than watching a flock of jet black Herdwick lambs gambolling around the fields in the spring sunshine. They are especially cute when they begin to moult the dark fur from their faces and look as if they’re wearing balaclavas! So here are some of the best places around the Lake District to spot them.
The sign in the photo at the top of this post is popular on social media at this time of year and it sits next to the road near Buttermere where there are plenty of beautiful bouncing Herdwicks to see. In Buttermere you will find several small carparks (and a nice pub), and there are walks to suit whatever mood you’re in. For those who enjoy a gentle flat stroll then a lap of the lake is in order, and there’s a clear path the whole way around.
Scale Force, the highest waterfall in the Lake District, is nearby on the shores of Crummock Water and if you fancy something a little more challenging then try Rannerdale Knotts; the views from the top are amazing. Of course, if all of the bouncing baby Herdwicks leave you feeling a little bit broody, then you can stop by our shop in Keswick on your way home and pick up a gorgeous little Herdy of your own.
Did you know that the wool for our new Herdysleep mattress comes from the Herdwicks of Grasmere? There are dozens of beautiful walks around the lake and surrounding fells, and you can even visit the largest lamb in Cumbria. Technically it’s not really a lamb; it’s a rocky outcrop on top of nearby Helm Crag known as “The Lion and the Lamb”, but if you look up at it from the A591 as you approach the village you’ll see how it got its name. It really does look like a lion laying down with a lamb nestled peacefully between its front paws.
One of our favourite walks from the Herdy shop in Grasmere village is to follow the route towards Easedale valley and up to Easedale Tarn. Along the way you’ll pass the stunning waterfalls of Sourmilk Gill, and the banks of the tarn itself is a perfectly peaceful place to rest, reflect, and enjoy a well earned flask of tea with a slice of cake. The local fields are full of Herdwicks busy growing the beautiful thick fleeces that make our Herdysleep mattresses so luxuriously comfortable.
For the finest Herdwick sheep take a visit to Dockray, it’s just a stone's throw from Ullswater and is where the Herdwick Supreme Champion from last year’s Patterdale show lives. The area is perfect for Herdwicks, with lots of local fells for them to explore and plenty of low level grazing for those tricky winter months. The most popular walk in the area is nearby Aira Force but, if the weather’s good and you’re well kitted out, take a hike from the village out onto Clough Head where you can enjoy spectacular views of Blencathra.
There is also a clear and lovely footpath around Gowbarrow Park, which takes in the summit of Gowbarrow Fell; it’s a great family walk and the views of Ullswater from the summit make all the effort worthwhile.