“Well, you have to put everything back in again that you’ve taken out. If you don’t look after it, it’ll not look after you at the end of the day, really” Jimmy Runciman, 4th Generation

How long have you farmed for and what drew you to farming?

Well, I was born into, this was my parents farm and I never wanted to do anything else. I was hardly ever at the school because I was at home, working on the farm. Farming was all I wanted to do and I’ve been working seven days a week since. We took it over 40 years ago and my son Grant will take over when I retire.

What breed of sheep do you have?

There are about 350 Cheviot mules, 90 Suffolk crosses out the Cheviot mules and 60 pure Texels. The Cheviot mules are half Bluefaced Leicester and half North County Cheviot.

How many acres does the farm cover is it?

There’s 730 acres of upland rolling hills. My brothers and myself use to work together as a collective farming around 2000 acres but we split the land in 1999 and its worked well for us since. There used to be around 150 of arable land – full with stones which made working the land hard. But at least we have plenty of dry-stone walls!

What’s the biggest thing that you’ve noticed change in the last 10yrs?

Oh, just the cost of everything that we buy in. It’s phenomenal now.

Has your flock and cattle size gone down since you started farming?

It’s fluctuated a bit. We used to have a shepherd before he retired. A few years ago, we sold a large number of cows to help with costs. My son Grant and I decided to increase the flock to help with grazing management. Grant is a wonderful shepherd and really understands the what breeding characteristics are better suited for the type of landscape we farm on the borders.

What’s your favorite, and least favorite job to do on the farm?

My favorite part about being a farmer is sitting in the tractor; I like doing the tractor work. I do a wee bit of contract work with the big bailers. My youngest brother has the three farms. He’s got quite a big contracting business. So I do the round bailing for him, silage in the summertime, and they do all the wrapping. I just go and do the round bailing for them. And then I bail straw away from home and cart it back here for the cows because there no crop here on Muircleugh Farm.

What’s your proudest achievement on the farm?

Proudest achievement on the farm? Flippin’ heck…I’m a humble man, I couldn’t say.

How would you describe your relationship with the animals?

I’m not interested in showing them. I like everything to do what it’s meant to do and behave themselves.

Have you noticed any changes in animal husbandry over the last 10 years?

We’re using less antibiotics.

What times of the year do you shear, and how long does it take?

We get contractors in to complete the shearing between May and June. We pick a suitable time around the condition of the sheep/lambs.

What are the fiber traits of your breed of sheep?

Strong and finer than usual on hill breeds.

What measures do you put in place to ensure the sheep are free from distress during shearing?

We keep them as calm as possible and treat them as well. We manage the ewes and lambs by making sure they are apart for as little amount of time as possible.

  • Location : Lauders
  • Flock Size: 500
  • Farm size: 730 acres

What do you miss about the farm when you go on holiday? Do you miss anything?

No, I don’t miss anything because I’m lucky having Grant, my son at home and I’ve got the phone with me all the time so if there’s any hassle, all he needs to do is give me a phone.

What can you say about your farm during the 4 seasons?

During autumn and winter time it’s not so nice because it’s stale and the cow sheds smell, days are shorter to get our jobs done. In the springtime grass is growing, leaves are coming out. Summertime, it’s tremendous and dry.

Where’s your favorite place to be on the farm?

Right at the top on a nice day when you can see see the Cheviots from one end to the other, right up on the top there. It’s some view.

 

 

What do your go-to drink in the morning when you wake up?

Coffee.

How would you describe your relationship with the land, whether that’s growing, harvesting or anything else?

Well, you have to put everything back in again that you’ve taken out. If you don’t look after it, it’ll not look after you at the end of the day, really. You have to be good to it.

What species of trees are in the woodland?

They’re a mix. There are hardwoods and Juniper. Oh there’s all sorts in it.

What’s your favorite wildlife to spot on the farm?

I like when we see the Lapwings (Peesweep) and the Curlews. The Lapwings in the spring, I love to see them, and usually watch them nest. I know roughly where they nest because of walking across the fields checking the livestock.  You’ll not find a nest easily because they’re camouflaged. You watch for the Lapwings coming off and have to remember where it is.

What does The Woolkeepers® sourcing model mean to you?

They have taught me that despite the wool being worth so little, it’s worth even less if we don’t look after it. At this farm, we now know how to pack and take care with the fleeces to get the highest price possible; keeping wool types separate and clean, that sort of thing.

The Woolkeepers® are making a big difference for UK wool because we can now see where it is going and hear about how brands such as House of Hackney are using the fibre. It’s really helping everyone recognize the value of a natural renewable fibre. Let’s keep it going!

Close the loop and find out what we made?

The Woolkeepers® initiative has captured both transparency and traceability in a unique wool assurance scheme which traces wool from farm gate to shop front. Our visibility within the supply chain ensures compliance with safety, sustainability and welfare requirements. Each time we process wool, we create a unique identifier which traces the batch back to farm, as well as forward to our customer.

This batch of wool went to House of Hackney.

Founded by Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle in 2011, House of Hackney is an award-winning British luxury brand renowned for ripping up the interiors rulebook and dreaming up iconic prints inspired by the world we live in. Proudly certified as a B Corp™, House of Hackney meets the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

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