Life in a Lake District valley in winter

Winter in the valley

“It’s a hard, physical time in winter…

In winter living in our valley takes on a whole new level of challenge, and just going about our daily lives becomes as much as anyone can physically manage.

The challenges of ice, snow and freezing temperatures combine to make life difficult. Visiting our idyllic farm in the summer it would be hard to imagine that it can be cut off for a month by snow, accessible only by land rover.

It’s water and heat which become our main challenges. With daytime temperatures of up to -17 keeping warm whilst working outdoors with the animals is absolutely imperative. Over trousers, Superstriders and thick socks are the order of the day. An insulated vest is excellent as it leaves you with good mobility for horse riding, mucking out or carrying water.

For the winters of 2009 and 2010 we were without running water for over a month. Our water supply which comes from a nearby spring was totally frozen. Keeping your family clean, hydrated and warm becomes a major challenge, without even mentioning the 50 plus animals that need to have their water carried to them several times a day as it freezes within half an hour.

Ponies eating in the snow

Imagine having to carry all your water for washing, cooking, washing clothes and even flushing the toilet in milk churns from a nearby river. With three lots of school uniforms to wash in the Belfast sink in river water, what a bonus it is to have easy to wash and dry technical kit from Rohan for the adults, clothes that can be worn for several days without taking on peculiar aromas!

Heat is the other challenge. Attempting to be Eco friendly we had installed an air source heat pump, which cannot operate at such low temperatures, so after a day of heavy water carrying outside, and mucking out stables, a hot bath in a warm house is simply impossible! The only source of heat is from a solid fuel Rayburn and a wood burning stove, which need to be fed a constant supply of wood which has to be carried in from the wood store through the snow. We bring in a small galvanised water trough for the children to wash in by the fire.

Snowy landscape

It’s a hard, physical time in winter, and the arrival of spring flowers and swallows in the stables lifts everyone’s spirits, and we hope eternally for better weather next year. Thankfully this winter has not been so severe, but 59 consecutive days of rain certainly brought its own challenges and frustrations.

Andrea Meanwell – The Lake District Fell Ponies Centre

Andrea MeanwellIt’s always great to receive feedback and stories from people who use Rohan Clothing every day.  Andrea mentioned on Twitter that she had just picked up some new Rohan Clothing from Rohan Ambleside her local Rohan Shop. She also mentioned that Rohan is very important to her in her daily work. When she also mentioned that she is the second generation of Rohanist in her family. I had to follow this up and discovered Andrea lives in a small traditional farmstead in a beautiful Lakeland Valley and runs The Lake District Fell Pony Centre which is a working farm. She has regular open farm days and has riding ponies for sale. She also has Alpaca knitwear for sale from her own Alpacas, Fell Pony hooded sweatshirts, every purchase supports her work on the farm.

A big thank you to Andrea for taking the time to share her interesting working days and great animals. Read here other story…


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