Kate Humble looks ahead to this year’s Lambing Live…
You learned shepherding skills for last year’s Lambing Live – did that boost your confidence for this year’s series?
“Well, I thought I could just waltz in and say, ‘Yeah, I’m a shepherd now!’ but every bit of it has been just as steep a learning curve as it was last year. We go live with the Marston family in Cumbria on April 4 and I’m completely terrified, but totally excited!”
What have you learned about hill farming?
“On my first day with the Marstons, I learned how to ‘fell gather’, where the sheep are brought down from the hills – the fell – to the farm. I couldn’t see any sheep for miles when, suddenly, this river of sheep came pouring down over the fell towards the heft, the part of the field where they know they’ll be fed. For the sheep, it’s like going to the local pub!”
The Marstons also ‘show’ their livestock. What does this entail?
“It’s sort of like Crufts but for farm animals. I always thought farmers were practical people who didn’t worry about what their animals looked like, but two weeks ago I spent a happy half hour blow-drying a cow! Then I backcombed its hair and it won the Supreme Championship. I was so proud of my backcombing, I have to say.”
You became clearly distressed last year when some of the lambs didn’t survive. How do you think you’ll cope this year?
“It is devastating to lose a lamb, but it does happen and I don’t want to sob all over the place. I’m hoping that the vast majority of the lambs that are born while we’re on air will be healthy and running around the farm, celebrating their new life!”
*Lambing Live starts on Monday, April 4 at 8pm on BBC2