It was whilst reading an article in The Daily Mail that I came across this amazing woman, Amanda Owen. I say amazing, because Amanda is exactly that, and her relentless journey to become a Shepherdess is testament to this.
Born in Huddersfield and with no family background of farming, Amanda knew from a very early age that she was destined for a farming career. Despite a multitude of barriers, the biggest being the very industrious town she lived in, Amanda worked her way through almost every farming job you can imagine, starting at the very bottom and taking whatever job she could in order to gain as much experience as possible. Whilst it was exactly what she wanted to be doing, it didn’t come without its hardships, but Amanda is what I like to call a superwoman. She never gave up, when it would have been so easy for her to do so, and as a result she found her ultimate dream job, as a Shepherdess of Ravenseat. Ravenseat is a 2,000-acre hill farm in one of the most remote areas of the Yorkshire Dales and is home to Amanda and her wonderful husband Clive, as well as their eight (soon to be nine) children.
Amanda’s narrative is warm, honest and very practical and I felt as though I learned so much about the rudimental of farming from her no-nonsense portrayal on what farming really involves. Ravenseat is portrayed in all its beauty, in particular through the accompanying photos, but under no circumstances does Amanda paint it as the perfect lifestyle, for when the seasons change, this can also be a very dangerous place indeed and a place where knowledge, common sense and experience is essential if you are to survive the crippling winters. The farming environment isn’t for everyone, and I’m sure it would push many to the limit, and the account of Foot and Mouth disease was just awful but both Amanda and her wonderful husband Clive approach this way of life with bravery, practicality and such enthusiasm that you can’t help but imagine yourself in their place as you read through, if only for a short visit though!
Being a Shepherd or a Shepherdess is certainly no easy feat and is constant, but Amanda is not afraid of hard work and you can’t help but respect and admire this woman, whilst realising that she has provided the almost perfect lifestyle to raise her children in. I would love to walk into every secondary school and hand this to all of the young girls there just to say that look it is possible for a young girl to achieve the career she wants;all you have to do is be prepared to put in the hard work, and Amanda is living proof of the possibilities through sheer determination and hard work.
The Yorkshire Shepherdess is an absolute beautiful and charming read which does not fail to inspire.