Born in Troutbeck in 1944, Alan moved to Hartsop at the age of 3 and has lived there ever since. Alan has continued his family’s farming tradition and has seen first hand the effects of increased mechanization, use of fertilisers and the Foot and Mouth epidemic on the high fell landscape; noting the increase in bracken coverage as well as the loss of quality heather and the extensive damage that can be done by winter walkers.
He has also been interested in birds and other wildlife from an early age – it is as a farmer, a huntsman and a natural historian that Alan has observed many changes among various populations of flora and fauna: From the increase in badgers to the loss of bees nests in the hedgerows.
As a trail-hound enthusiast, Alan took part in many competitions and recalls the frustrations and achievements of training and breeding his own dogs.
“There used to be a lot more people on the farms. Such as How’s had two working for them and Grove Farm had anywhere up to five or six. But now my brother, his son and myself run the whole lot.”