George ‘Geordie’ Hutton was born in 1934 at Hall House farm in Bassenthwaite. In 1947 the family moved to Setmabanning Farm in Threlkeld and he and his family have farmed at Setmabanning ever since. Geordie’s memories begin when farms were in many ways very different – smaller, with less stock and more workers, and no mechanisation and no artificial manure. Setmabanning at that time supported a family of five children on 70 acres, on which were about 20 head of cattle and about 150 sheep. Labour was available to maintain the walls on the fells and keep the land drained and free of flukes, and there were always local boys about, who were interested in farming and who would come and lend a hand on the farm after school was over. Geordie believes that in those days farmers simply wanted to make a living, rather than to get rich. At that time there were several other ways of making a living as well: the railway, the quarry, the lime works, the pencil mill and the bobbin mill, all now gone.
‘I was always very keen on dogs, and before I came to Threlkeld, when I was 11 years old I could walk from Bassenthwaite nearly to Keswick on my bicyle to get sheep and walk them back 6 miles on that main road and might see one motor car and it might be doing 20 mph. You daren’t set off to go 100 yards on that road now with any sheep, that’s made a big difference.’