On a visit to Cumbria, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Upon returning to Kate Middleton’s childhood vacation spot in the Lake District, the duo tried their hands at shearing sheep at a local farm. The Brown family was more than happy to welcome members of the royal family onto the Deepdale Hall Farm for a bit of sheering, herding, and even dry stone walling.
While Prince William had no problem separating the sheep from its luxurious wool, Kate had a little more trouble.
When Kate turned on the shears and started to slide the cutter against the animal’s pelt, a wild kicking frenzy ensued from the startled sheep. While the shearing process doesn’t harm the animal, it’s not uncommon for sheep to get startled or uncomfortable during the process.
But the Duchess stood her ground. Not even flinching, Kate didn’t lose her grip once as she and her instructor finished shearing the rambunctious ruminants.
Shearing sheep is essential to maintaining the health of the sheep and the quality of its wool. Without regular shearing, a sheep’s wool will continue to grow. This can lead to issues with felting and skin damage.
Sheepskin is celebrated as a luxury item, its wool is also vital. Sheepskin alone can absorb 30% of its own weight in moisture when it’s worn by humans, but we’ve found particular importance in its moisture-wicking wool.
It’s a process that the farmers of Deepdale Hall know well. According to USA, the Brown family has been farming the land and raising sheep near Lake Ullswater since the 1950s.
But this visit to the farm wasn’t the only reason the Duke and Duchess visited the Lake District. This World Heritage site brings in countless tourists each year, but farming on the land is vital — and difficult.
Following their visit to the Brown Family, they sat down with local farmers to talk about some of these challenges facing the agricultural sector today. This included concerns over Brexit and other issues regarding isolation. While the United States has more than 2.5 million miles of pipeline connecting isolated areas to fuel sources, rural farms in the UK don’t have that luxury.
“Farming and agriculture has a special place in the #LakeDistrict National Park, where farmers have worked centuries on some of the most challenging land in the country,” read the Kensington Palace Instagram.
Kate has also shown her support for the agricultural sector when she collaborated with the Royal Horticultural Society last month. In her “Back to Nature” garden, she hoped to showcase the importance of getting children involved in nature.