I bought my first six Hebridean ewes and a ram called Hadrian when I was sixteen, having saved my birthday and Christmas money, sold my Playstation and undertook gardening jobs for local villagers. I’ve always had a passion for farming and to run my own farming business. So much so that I wrote to The Prince of Wales asking for work experience on The Duchy of Cornwall Farm, one of the country’s leading organic farms, which at that time had a rare breed flock that included Hebrideans. After a very successful two weeks work experience the farm manager David Wilson asked me to return for a paid summer job the following year, which clearly proved to me where my passions lay.
Howardian Hebrideans are a flock of rare breed Hebridean sheep owned by young, up-coming farmer Gareth Barlow in North Yorkshire's Howardian Hills, situated to the north east of York.
I have developed the flock over the last four years, joined the Hebridean Sheep Society and am now a member of the committee, purchased more ewes, changed the ram, and now have a flock of over 70 animals. This is no hobby; I am running the flock as a business, considering the condition and welfare of the animals from birth to table. Now the time has come for me to try to move the enterprise to the next level by increasing the flock and finding additional grazing land, which I am slowly increasing. I currently fund my business through working in the Castle Howard Farm Shop as a part time trainee butcher and by working for local farmers. I fully understand that I still have a lot to learn about farming, but I’m a hard working person that enjoys a challenge and I intend to make this business a success. Over the past year things have moved on leaps and bounds and I now supply two Michelin-star restaurants and Castle Howard Farm Shop.