Cathy and Darren Cassie both chose agriculture and livestock as their career choices, although neither of them grew up on a farm. On leaving school, Darren opted to attend Harper Adams University college and gained a degree in Agriculture before entering a career in dairy farming. Cathy attended Newton Rigg Agricultural College, specialising in Hill Farm management. She then went on to work on farms right across the UK, including the Shetland Islands, gaining wide experience and becoming a professional shepherdess. Cathy now manages the conservation-grazing flocks for the Wildlife Trust in Northamptonshire, while Darren has changed career to become an HGV driver, allowing him more time to dedicate to the small farm at home owned by his father Brian.
Cathy acquired her first Manx Loaghtan ewe at a farm sale in the lake district in 1988, going on to establish a prize-winning flock before expanding to include Hebridean and North Ronaldsay sheep after visiting the island of North Ronaldsay. Darren’s Parents became the proud owners of their first small flock of four North Ronaldsay ewes and a ram in the same year, and Darren purchased his own first Ronaldsays in 1992. A mutual interest in the conservation of rare breeds, together with associated social events and sheep sales, finally resulted in romance between Cathy and Darren and their eventual marriage, sadly not until after Darren’s mum Marion had died from an aggressive cancer.
Today, Cathy and Darren and their two children run the small farm alongside Darren’s father Brian. They now keep some 170 breeding ewes of twelve different breeds, a small suckler herd of Murray Grey cattle, and spend a lot of their time during the summer months showing their sheep. Cathy uses her experience and expertise to offer training days and workshops on the farm and for the Wildlife Trusts.