Jim Smith

Swaledale tup at HawesSwaledale tup at Hawes, © W.R. Mitchell
and the University of Bradford Special Collections

Jim Smith was the son of Joseph Waller Smith and grandson of J.W. Smith. He moved to Whinney Mire Farm, near Newby and Ingleton in Ribblesdale, on the slopes of Ingleborough hill, when he was just a small baby.

In his interview with W.R. Mitchell, Jim Smith describes the difficulties of farming Dalesbred and Swaledale sheep on the slopes of Ingleborough, and different ways of gathering the sheep for shearing and clipping, from heathing to shedding and penning. He also describes the impact of over-stocking on the heather on the moors and the decline of grouse shooting. 

He also describes the bitter winter of 1947 when the snow filled all the roads in Ribblesdale and hill famers had great difficulty clearing the roads. “To fetch all the milk and proven we went through t’field like, through our field. We ’ad to pull t’walls down to get up to village,” says Jim. Thousands of sheep were lost in the bitter conditions of 1947, and thousands of rabbits, cold and hungry, moved down from Ingleborough into the hay barns.