Cumbrian Shepherds of Instagram, an exhibition of photographs taken by working shepherds in England's Lake District, opens in Keswick, Cumbria, at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery on July 1st and runs until August 16th. 

Their images offer a different perspective on the Lake District than that a visitor perceives. Hill farming is not only a business, it is an integral part of the Lake District landscape which is something they all care about tremendously.   For more information please email info@spencer.photography.

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Jennie, her partner and her son moved to Cumbria to follow a lifelong ambition to work in the fells. Inspired by childhood visits to see her fell running grandfather and watching local shepherds gathering the fells surrounding Hartsop, Patterdale.

She says, “Farming isn’t for the faint hearted and to achieve our goal of farming with nature in the Lake District we have gone through some highs and lows.”

They are still working hard on surrounding farms, but their overall ambition is to be farming in their own right, living and working in a traditional way on the land.

Jennie Hill

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Andrea Meanwell

Andrea helped her uncle with his Swaledale sheep in the North Pennines as a child in the 1970s and dreamed of having her own sheep. In 2009 after a career in teaching she bought a small farm in the Lake District and started a flock of Rough Fell Sheep. 

In 2018 her son joined her as a partner in the farming business and they bought a larger farm near Tebay. Andrea has written 3 books about starting her own farm. In 2019 Andrea was appointed as the farming officer for the Lake District National Park. She promotes hill farming in light of the UNESCO world heritage status for the Lake District and continues to improve her own flock of Rough Fell Sheep. 

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Joe Richardson

Joe has been shepherding since he left school and has been among dogs and sheep all his life.  His family has been on the same farm for nearly 40 years and he comes from many generations of Lakeland farmers.

He says, “I started taking pictures because I enjoy looking back at old photographs of my dad and grandad farming, and the dogs and sheep they kept back in the day.” He does some landscape photography but his real love is photographing his dogs and the stock. 

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The show came about after I was introduced to Joe. He took me on a gathering where several shepherds get together and bring their hill sheep down from the fells. You can see my images here.

I started following Joe on Instagram which led me to following other shepherds and I discovered some extraordinary photographic work which I felt compelled to share with visitors to the Lake District.

We are very grateful to Becks, the manager of the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, for her support.

This is our first year and it is a modest show. Providing we can find a patron; we plan to expand it and make it an annual event. If you'd like more information please contact me at info@spencer.photography.

Spencer

© 2015-2018 by SPENCER STEPHENS, info@spencer.photography