Interview With Amanda Owen From TV's Our Yorkshire Farm
Currently showing on Channel 5, Our Yorkshire Farm has returned for its 3rd TV series. The programme follows the Owen family at Ravenseat farm set up in the Yorkshire Dales at Swaledale. Clive Owen, his wife Amanda and their 9 children have proved to be extremely popular with the viewing public as the series follows them on the farm throughout the year.
I talked to Amanda who has also written 2 books, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, with another book to follow, about life on the farm and the TV programme.
How did the programme happen in the first place?
Before we start can I just share with you that we have just got the viewing figures in for the first show and they show us that the programme is one of the biggest on Channel 5, apparently the first show got more viewers than the recent Prince Andrew interview, that is amazing!
I think the reason why people watch is because this is real life, not all this perfect home business that people dream of, you see things at the farm like wallpaper hanging off the wall!
How it all started was that the Luke Casey programme, Dales Diary came out and it was so popular that a researcher on Channel 5 saw the programme and thought that there was an appetite for a fly on the wall, everyday life in the Dales type of programme. I had written a book called the Yorkshire Sheperdess, so when we were approached I thought that we should give it a go.
People think farming is easy but it is a hard life
It is a 7 days a week job with no holidays and you have to go out in all weathers. If you remember at the start of this year every weekend we had a storm coming across, it was the worst storms for 2 years.
Did the Lockdown make any difference to you on the farm?
By the time the filming of the series got to episode 6 I was filming it myself, but as for life on the farm, nothing changed and life went on as normal, we still had lambing time, the only thing that changed was that the tourists didn't come which they tend to do around the second week of May. The children might not have been to school but living on the farm has given them a good learning in life. How many children can change a wheel on a trailer?
You are originally from Huddersfield, how did you meet Clive your husband?
I was working in Cumbria as a Shepherd and came to see Clive at Ravenseat to collect a ram from the farm, he rang me up a few days later and asked me if I wanted to go out with him.
In the second programme of the new series we see how Clive has to adjust to farm life after his hip operation, was it difficult for him?
He was hobbling about afterwards as you will see but he can't switch off as it's a way of life farming. He was out there with us when he was able to, supervising us and telling us what we should be doing.
How remote is the farm?
We are 1300 feet above sea level and the highest part of the land is 1800 feet above sea level. We have long winters and short summers. We have got the Internet, the signal has to bounce off 3 buildings and would you believe a man has to turn on a generator to power it up. The mobile signal is very weak, I can only get a signal in certain parts of the farm. You can switch off from the outside world up here, I still watch the news and know what's going on in the world so it's good to have the news and the outdoor life.
Do you think the climate is changing?
It's crazy, we had hailstones last week, we seem to be having a lot of extreme weathers. I remember last year the children were bathing in the river in February but this spring we had snow. The weather makes it harder when working outdoors. If we get a bad crop of hay this summer it will not be good as that has to see us through the winter. We had a great spring but since the start of July it's rained nearly every day.
What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
We clipped the sheep the other day so there is the clippings of wool to clear up. Since its raining today we have a lot of indoor jobs to do too. The views from the farm are fantastic but those views require a lot of effort to keep them as they are. I'm fortunate too that the kids can dry stone wall, they say if a sheep looks at a wall and thinks it is unsafe they will not climb over it.
Our Yorkshire Farm is on Channel 5 at 2100 on Tuesday evenings.