Tom and Kay met at Askham Bryan College, York in 1992, after completing diploma courses, Tom worked as a full time farm hand, first on a farm in North Yorkshire then on a farm in Northumberland. Learning good stockman skills, and also got involved in the training and working of collie dogs. Kay set up her own gardening business, maintaining and creating gardens.

Then in 1999 we secured the tenancy of a smallholding  'Lady Hill' in Northumberland, which enabled us to expand our stock numbers. Until then we had only had ten Swaledale ewes kept in partnership with Tom's dad, so we increased their numbers and bought a dairy cow (Gloria) and multi suckled calves. Gloria proved to be a very productive creature and reared us ten calves in one season. While we were living here, the Kingshaugh herd and flock were established. All income was always invested straight back into additional stock and still is now.

During our time at Lady Hill we established our Limousin herd, expanded our Swaledale flock and also introduced two pedigree Hereford cows to the herd. To supplement our income we both worked on a self employment basis and in the year 2000 Tom also started contract clipping with his clipping partner John Reay, starting at the end of May they clip right through till the beginning of August. Between them they clip approximately 12000 head of sheep a season. 

In October 2005 we were delighted to secure the tenancy of Bail Hill, the size of the farm still enabled Tom to maintain the contract clipping and to continue to work on a self employment basis dressing stock for shows and sales among other things. The Kingshaugh herd and flock moved with us.

Bail Hill farm lies in Upper Teesdale, County Durham within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Tom, Kay and their three children Jack, Esme and Hetty secured the tenancy of the Raby Estate farm in October 2005. It is a high hill farm, lying at 1350 feet above sea level, with 38 hectares of ground all classed as severely disadvantaged and managed in an environmental stewardship agreement with stint rights for the Swaledale flock on Harwood common. High Force England's largest waterfall lies to the east a mile down the road and Couldron Snout England's largest cascade a few miles to the west. It is a lovely place to live but can be very bleak at times.

We have the most amazing views of the surrounding countryside, which you cannot help stop to look at every morning before beginning the duties of the day. We can have some very long and hard winters in Upper Teesdale, in fact it is known to have recorded the deepest level of snow in an inhabited place in 1947 at 83 inches.  It is also an area with a high rain fall and winds hard sweeping across the landscape, when we do see the sun it is very welcome.

More information about Upper Teesdale can be found with the link below

Upper Teesdale