As happens to me with so many farm animals, as soon as I tried to photograph him in a relaxed, natural pose, this White Shorthorn bull immediately stopped what he was doing – grazing – and looked straight at the camera with a suspicious ‘what are you doing?’ expression.
White Shorthorns are a rare breed, well adapted to being out in all weathers and here at Nethergill Farm in Langstrothdale they’re free to roam, either in the fields around the farm or on the open hillside beyond Oughtershaw Beck. They tend to have a daily routine, making their way down from their preferred overnight quarters towards the beck during the morning.
Along with some light grazing by a limited number of sheep, the White Shorthorns act as landscape managers here, rather like the Longhorns on the Knepp Wildland Project in West Sussex.
Wildlife projects at Nethergill include managing the meadows to encourage wild flowers, the woodland to encourage red squirrels and the beck for fish, insects, birds and the occasional visit by an otter.
Chris & Fiona Clark run the award-winning Eco-Farm at Nethergill but the bull belongs to a farmer friend of theirs in Cumbria – Gordon
“Gordon takes our calves when old enough,” Fiona tells me, “and we use his mature bulls to cosy up with our girls.
‘Trump’ is the new kid on the block, 2 years old. Probably weighs 700kg approx.
The ladies rule at Nethergill he sidles up to each female over several weeks.
His technique obviously worked as all bar 1 are in calf due this Summer.”
Nethergill Eco-Farm and Self Catering Accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales