Royal couple try hand at sheep shearing on trip to Cumbria

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had a taste of life as sheep farmers as they visited Cumbria.

The couple tried their hand at sheep shearing at Deepdale Hall Farm in Patterdale, Cumbria.

After helping farmer Jack Cartmel to shear one sheep, William joked: "She's not going to be happy with her haircut."

The pair laughed as the sheep squirmed while Kate tried out shearing.

Kate and William were welcomed to the farm, where they also helped out with sheep herding and dry stone walling, by the Brown family and were handed flowers by the youngest members of the family Caitlyn, five, and Georgia, three.

Chris Brown, 67, and his son Jimmy, 41, who run the farm, then took the couple into the farmhouse kitchen where they met other farmers for a discussion over a cup of tea and piece of cake.

William asked the farmers about how Brexit had affected them.

Royal visit to Cumbria
Royal visit to Cumbria

He said: "Is that something you're worried about?"

Adam Day, managing director of the Farming Network, said: "The worst case scenario post-Brexit is absolutely dire."

He said farmers would be hit by export tariffs and by a "black hole" in subsidy payments.

Sam Rawling, who runs a farm in Ennerdale which has been in his family for 500 years, said he was surprised farmers had voted for Brexit.

When he was asked by William how he felt about the future, he said: "Quite apprehensive at the moment.

"It's a bit of a concern, I wouldn't want to be the last generation after 500 years."

Mr Cartmel and his wife Rachel, who run a hill farm together, said they also ran other businesses, sheep shearing and training sheep dogs, and rented out part of the house to create income.

William said: "It's a juggling act for you."

Royal visit to Cumbria
Royal visit to Cumbria

Danny Teasdale, who runs a community interest company in Glenridding, said: "The conversation was really good and they were really interested. I was impressed.

"They were really keen to know what was going on and we told them there were a lot of positive aspects of farming that don't get brought up.

"William did want to know how people felt about Brexit.

"It's just uncertainty and the not knowing.

"It does have implications if there are massive tariffs applied. A lot of farming is an export market."

Kate and William then went on a walk from nearby Side Farm, where they met children from Patterdale Primary School and volunteers from Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Earlier in the day, they met a four-legged friend called Prince Harry as they visited Keswick.

Today The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are celebrating the work of local heroes, farmers, volunteers and those supporting the rural community in Cumbria – starting in Keswick! 🇬🇧👋

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) June 11, 2019

William and Kate patted the energetic seven-month-old English springer spaniel with his owner, Kerry Irving, who uses his dogs to help others get outdoors to fight depression and poor mental health.

Mr Irving met the royal couple last month at a Buckingham Palace garden party with his therapy dog Max, and on Tuesday he welcomed the royal visitors to his home town of Keswick with Max, aged 11, and his other two springer spaniels, Paddy, aged two, and seven-month-old Prince Harry.

"I said, 'This is Paddy, obviously that's Max, and this one's Prince Harry, and he (William) laughed, he said, 'Oh yes, I remember you telling us about that'."

The royal visitors are known to be dog lovers, owning an English cocker spaniel.

Mr Irving added: "Then Kate was talking about her dog and she said, 'Your dogs are so calm. Maybe we should lend you Lupo'."

Royal visit to Cumbria
Royal visit to Cumbria

Mr Irving, 54, suffered a devastating car crash in 2006, but overcame severe depression by walking his neighbour's dog Max before he adopted him.

He and his wife Angela have gone on to use the dogs for therapy to help others and raise funds for charities supporting mental health – an issue close to Kate and William's hearts.

In Keswick the royal visitors were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers at the start of their visit to Cumbria.

After sampling local cheese from market stall holders, they spent an hour talking to residents involved with organisations supporting communities and families across Cumbria.