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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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William Martin Waugh

He was a farmer, in a very considerable way, was William Martin Waugh, with hundreds of Swaledale sheep on hundreds of acres of land near Dalston and on the fellsides.

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Farmed from boyhood: William Waugh ran 1,500 sheep

He began farming with his father at Cardewlees, Dalston and when he married bought Mirkholme Farm and then the nearby 1,000 acres of fellside known as Skiddaw Forest, running upwards of 1,500 sheep.

There were no telephones then and no mains electricity, so power had to be provided by a generator in an outbuilding.

Reaching Skiddaw House along the three-miles-long track from the nearest surfaced road was an experience that some visitors did not care for because, at the Dash Falls waterfall there was a very steep unfenced drop. So steep that some of his friends insisted on getting out of the Land Rover and walking the rest of the way!

Born into a farming family at Cardewlees, he began to learn the ropes when he was very young, at a time when dairy cows were the farm’s mainstay and long before they were replaced by sheep.

He was educated at what was, then, the National School in Dalston and, later, at the Grosvenor College in Carlisle, leaving when he was 16 to return to farming.

Here, he soon showed his aptitude for the life and the job, winning a Cumberland ploughing championship with a team of Clydesdale heavy horses whilst still in his teens.

He married Catherine Mary Hill, from Westward, whom he met when they were both members of the Young Farmers’ Club at Wigton and they went on to buy Mirkholme Farm and, then, Skiddaw Forest.

They were at Mirkholme for five years but then his mother died and they returned to Cardewlees, putting a manager in to run the fellside enterprises. It was a while later that they sold the dairy cows and put sheep onto the farm’s 200 acres and then came the time – in 1964 – that he bought a Fordson Super Dexter tractor, for the then princely sum of £400.

He farmed until he was in his late 70s and the business remains in the family, run by his son and daughter-in-law.

A horse racing buff who knew a great deal about the sport from watching TV, he never placed a bet – except for a few shillings at local point-to-point meetings. A long-serving member of the Dalston Show Committee, he was the show’s chairman, president and then honorary vice president. He was also a Freemason for some years but here, as in other areas, his activities were restricted – because work always came first.

He loved music and played the accordion. He was a great fan of Jimmy Shand and encouraged his son to learn to play the instrument. His son played the Bluebell Polka at his father’s funeral service in St Michael’s Church, Dalston.

The service was followed by cremation in Carlisle and his ashes were buried in the family plot at St Michael’s.

Mr Waugh, who was 85, died four weeks after he and his wife celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. He leaves her, two daughters and a son, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.

George Hudson and Sons, Carlisle, made the funeral arrangements.

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