An old friend and I arranged to meet up for lunch today. We’d planned to meet at The Bull at Broughton, but on arrival, we discovered it doesn’t open Monday’s, so we jumped ship, to the Tempest Arms. We found a quiet corner in front of a crackling log burner and settled in for a pint, a bite and a natter. Superb shoulder of lamb, for the record.
Jamie Roberts is a fascinating person. Earlier entries into his life story are; a country boy from the beautiful Grassington area of the Yorkshire Dales, a Save The Rhino campaigner, a specialist conservationist and more recently, the director of the National Trust in St Helena. This tiny island in the middle of The Atlantic is unquestionably, remote. Over 1,200 miles from the mainland (Africa); a 10 mile long tropical rock that is serviced by just a small handful of ships a year, and no airport (as yet – one is being built).
His work there involved efforts to save the worlds rarest tree – the awkwardly named Bastard Gumwood – the last surviving member of its species. After several years of living and working on the island, the pull of Gods Own County was too strong for him and he brought his family back home to Yorkshire where he and his wife are currently breathing new life and ideas into the family business – Kilnsey Park and Trout Farm.
Nestled near the foot of one of the most iconic sights in The Yorkshire Dales – Kilnsey Crag – the park is in an idyllic spot. As well as rearing arguably the finest trout in the world (certainly the best I’ve ever tasted) the park offers an off the beaten track tourist experience. If your idea of a family activity involves avoiding the bouncy castle and burger van set-ups and opting for something a bit more wholesome, then Kilnsey may be the spot for you and your clan. You’d get to see every stage of trout farming from fingerling to dinner plate, learn about the park’s red squirrel breeding program, go on a nature trail, and perhaps have a bite of trout in the cafe. Probably the best ‘take home’ could be the “Do you remember when we caught that fish?”memory and hopefully the fish to go with it, thanks to the farms ‘first fishing experience’.
I’m hoping to do a first hand review at some point in the not too distant- it’s been too long since we’ve been up. Tight lines, I think one’s just risen, in me hole.
Jamie currently has a lot of irons in the fire. It’s the 35th year of the business this year and he’s working hard on a program of excellent sounding stuff to celebrate. The Bodgers, branding and bloggers title of this post was a line from an email exchange we had last week. It seemed to sum up part of his current business plan. A Bodger, by the way, is a traditional wood turning craftsman. Jamie’s been speaking to an expert Bodger, as well as expert Branding people and a far from expert Blogger (me).
I get the feeling after meeting with Jamie today that he and his ventures may feature on DragonDrop.org a few more times before my ‘blog every day for a year’ project is out. He’s currently a one man content bomb. Note to self – write up the story about the Kilnsey cheese that he’s thinking of reviving after reading about it in an ancient text, and, the challenge of hitting the Cragg from the road with a coin. It can’t be done (said I) it can and it has been (said he) – cricketers seem to have the knack. There’s a formidable pace attack from the Upper Wharfedale bowlers by the sound of things.