Well known farm manager Bernard Liddle has self-published his life story, and as his daughter, farming writer Sarah Liddle, reveals, it is in his own inimitable style

WE have had the Yorkshire Vet, then the Yorkshire Shepherdess and now we give you your very own Yorkshire farm manager – Bernard Liddle. His 375-page book entitled "Oh – If only I had written it down" is a heartfelt, humorous, educational and historical read – spanning more than 70 years spent in Yorkshire, together with snippets of worldwide travel.

Over the last half century Bernard Liddle has been a character who gives his opinions and expertise and knowledge to all manner of people – and has always treated everyone the same whatever their background or beliefs, although many will have personal recollections and stories of their meeting with this strong Yorkshire character.

Bernard’s recollections of these meetings are nestled and told in these memoirs in his own unique, forthright fashion.

Friends and acquaintances will recall times over the years telling Bernard he couldn’t or can’t do something – which simply makes him all the more insistent to prove you wrong, with true Yorkshire grit or dogged determination.

He has said for years that after settling family disputes over previous occurrences through referring to his diary, carefully written day in, day out for 40-plus years, he would at some point regale the same stories of his everyday life into a book – and here it is.

For many locals to Bedale and the surrounding area, the book, through its 29 chapters shows the journey the Yorkshire Dales has made from mainly farming communities, to modernise and evolve into one of the world’s leading holiday destinations.

For farmers and particularly dairy cattle enthusiasts, the story shows how a hill farmer’s son from Nidderdale carved a career in the Holstein breed, serving as a board member of Holstein UK and then president in 2010-11, landed a once in a life time job opportunity alongside Jonathan Ropner, and then ultimately helped the Dalesend herd to become one of the best in the UK until it all came to an end in 2011. The dispersal sale for the herd attracted a massive crowd at Newton-le-Willows, near Leyburn, with more than 100 buyers recorded spanning 26 different counties.

One cow from the herd was, the legendary Dalesend Storm Maude, was once described by a competition judge as “the best cow in the world”.

The book recalls the highs and lows of farming life, with more than a few honest mishaps along the way – in true Bernard style the book often laughs at him as much as the others in the tales told.

Of course, the book also has an underlying message that shows the strength of family and friendship – true homage to both is given in the multitude of snippets of everyday life – and the book even passes as a free good food and accommodation guide, pretty much worldwide.

One brief extract from the book tells how Bernard came to meet lifelong friend Bill Faulds after the herdsman at Newton Grange handed his notice in. The book continues: "Earlier that birthday morning one of the men interviewed for the job, in fact I think the only one, because he came on a personal recommendation was a certain Bill Faulds – later to become known as Mr Bill.

"Another Scotsman who had originated from the Newton Stewart area but had been a long distance lorry driver, driven for Yorkshire Henebece in his purple trousers in the early days of ready mixed concrete, before returning to his farming roots and being an under-herdsman at David Ackroyd’s Nun Monkton Farms with firstly Shorthorns and later Friesians, under the guidance of Joe Horner, who later moved to Whitsbury Farm and Stud down in Hampshire as the herds manager.”

This was a monumental part of Bernard’s life, as he and Bill have been tremendous friends and colleagues for the last 50 years and their stories, adventures and friendship are as comical in the book as it is to anyone who has experienced it first-hand.

"Oh – If only I had written it down" by Bernard Liddle is out now and a local book reading and signing will be held once restrictions allow at the Dales Centre, Wycar, Bedale, as 25 per cent of the proceeds of book sales will be donated to the Dales Centre, a charity which offers friendship and food to the community, and was founded by Jonathan Ropner.

Alternatively copies can be purchased from Bernard as he has self-published the book, with contact details at www.thefarmorganisation.co.uk

The book is priced at £11.99 plus postage and packaging. Books will also be available at many local events such as the Great Yorkshire Show and Wensleydale Agricultural Show, subject to Covid regulations, and will be stocked in the first instance in Braithwaites Nursery, Leeming Bar.