THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
'Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book' Nigel Slater
'Triumphant, a pastoral for the 21st century' Helen Davies, Sunday Times, Books of the Year
'The nature publishing sensation of the year, unsentimental yet luminous' Melissa Harrison, The Times, Books of the Year
Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells.
I am the luckiest man alive, because I get to live and work in the most beautiful place on earth: Matterdale in the English Lake District.
When I was a child we didn't really go anywhere, except a week in the Isle of Man when I was about ten years old, and I never left Britain until I was twenty.
Even now, years later, the best bit of any travelling is coming home.
Bringing us into the world of shepherd's baking competitions, sheep shows and moments out on the fell watching the sheep run away home, James Rebanks interweaves thoughts and reflections on the art of shepherding with his photographs of the valley, people and animals that make up the daily life of the fells. A life lived by the three hundred surviving fell farming families, this is a book of photos and words filled with reverence and love.
James Rebanks is the Herdwick Shepherd, whose account of shepherding has a strong following on Twitter. His family have farmed in the same area for six hundred years.
Author image © Eamonn McCabe