Borders family play hosts to TV’s Lambing Live

Back then front ( l-r) with pointer Purdey, John Dykes, Murdo, Rosie, Kate Dykes, Susie Dykes, Kate Humble, Hamish Dykes
Back then front ( l-r) with pointer Purdey, John Dykes, Murdo, Rosie, Kate Dykes, Susie Dykes, Kate Humble, Hamish Dykes

The BBC’s popular Lambing Live programme will be filmed in the Borders later this month.

Stars Kate Humble and Adam Henson present the programme from the Dykes’ family farm – South Slipperfield, near West Linton – from March 25 as their crossbred flock of nearly 600 ewes lamb.

Third-generation farmer Hamish and his wife, Susie, both 42, run the mixed hill and upland farm of about 1,000 acres (ranging from 500 up to 1,500 feet).

The farm’s Blackface flock, on the farm since 1956, are crossed with homebred Blue Faced Leicester tups, brought in in 1992, to produce Scotch Mules. The Mules are crossed with Texel tups introduced by Hamish in the early 2000s. And the Dykes keep about 150 Mule cross Texel ewes, currently tupped with a Beltex.

The family also have around 75 mainly pedigree Simmental cows, introduced by Hamish’s father, John, in 1987.

An Edinburgh agricultural college graduate, Hamish worked on other farms for two years before working at home from 1988. He spent a year in Australia and New Zealand in 1993.

Qualified vet nurse Susie also travelled in Australia and worked in veterinary pharmaceutical sales. She’s now on the farm full time and the couple have two children, Rosie, nine, and Murdo, seven.

The pair explained how they came to be Lambing Live hosts: “An incredibly-persuasive member of the BBC seemed to gather some recommendations after extensive research and managed to convince us it was something we would enjoy as a family.

“During the week of live broadcasting we will be five days into lambing the cross-bred flock of 460 plus 120 hoggs (one-year-old first timers).

“There is a certain amount of nervous apprehension in the Dykes household. Filming has been ongoing since the Kelso ram sales last year. Pre-recorded mini-films will be broadcast during the ‘live’ show to tell the story of the farming calendar.

“Whilst this has all been fun and relaxed so far, we are aware that anything can happen during a live broadcast and we really have no control over that ultimately.

“We are looking forward to sharing what we do on a daily basis with everyone who is interested.

“We enjoy what we do and hope it will be an interesting account of our story so far.

“Kate Humble has been on the farm several times to familiarise herself with our enterprise and complete the pre-recorded mini films. We thoroughly enjoy her company. She is incredibly well informed, interesting and interested, as well as having great rapport with our kids and mixing the best Bloody Marys.

“We have met Adam Henson on one occasion during this production, though John has met him previously during other farming-related outings.

“Again, as you would expect, he is easy and enjoyable company. We’re looking forward to working with him during the week of the ‘live’ and getting to know him better then.”

A special documentary, Lambing Live: Farming Families, is on Sunday, March 23, (8pm) and thereafter Lambing Live is nightly from Tuesday, March 25, to Friday, March 28, at 8pm.