CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on TV: Counting sheep on a walk? It's the perfect day off ...

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on TV: Counting sheep on a walk? It's the perfect day off ...
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on TV: Counting sheep on a walk? It's the perfect day off ...
CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV: Counting sheep on a walk? It's the perfect day off for a shepherdess

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Winter Walks

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Forget the view and lovely weather. When hill farmer and mum-of-nine Amanda Owen takes a day off in the Dales, all she can think about is her sheep.

The shepherdess — familiar to viewers from her documentary series Our Yorkshire Farm on C5 — was enjoying a solitary stroll across the fells around Wensleydale, in Winter Walks (BBC4).

It was meant to be a day of relaxation. But her mind was constantly on her flock — the woolly ones, not the two-legged type charging about in their wellies. It's plain she knows the children are quite capable of looking after themselves.

'I'm determined that I am not going to feel guilty that I am not at work today,' Amanda declared, as she set off on a five-mile hike from Bainbridge to Semerwater.

Amanda Owen enjoyed a solitary stroll across the fells in Winter Walks

Amanda Owen enjoyed a solitary stroll across the fells in Winter Walks

But she couldn't help seeing everything with a shepherd's eye. The grass was greener on these hills than at her home in Swaledale, a couple of valleys away, and that meant better grazing — which in turn promised earlier lambing.

Sure enough, she spotted a ewe with two newborns, a 'tup' and a 'gimmer' . . . one male and one female. She watched with concern, until she was sure the lambs were suckling well and shaking their tails.

On the long straight of the Roman road, she met two fellow farmers and stopped for a chinwag. 'They speak my language . . . sheep!' she said approvingly.

Even a chance meeting with three pony trekkers set her thinking

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