We, Stephen and Sarah Burchell have farmed near Moffat in the Southern Uplands south west Scotland for 25 years. All the sheep are born and bred on our farms of Upper Minnygap, lying in the foothills of Queensberry and overlooking the Moffat Hills, and Meiklholmside near the famous Devil’s Beef Tub in Annan Water, Moffat.
We started Annanwater in 2007, selling our own home bred blackface and blackface-cross lamb, hogget and mutton direct at farmers markets and to local restaurants. Lamb becomes hogget after its first Christmas and mutton after it is two years old.
We have always had a passion for the wild open landscapes of Northern Britain. We believe that this is the right environment for producing excellent meat from healthy animals. All our sheep graze freely on open hill land and upland meadows enjoying high welfare standards and maturing naturally. Conventional lamb is farmed to be ready when only months old. Annanwater hogget is over a year old before it is ready to eat.
Our emphasis throughout is on allowing the sheep to mature at their own pace and ensuring that the sheep live as stress-free life as possible. Feeding on a variety of grasses and herbage, clover meadows and herb-rich uplands allows them time to mature at a gentle pace. Our customers often comment that our hogget and mutton has a flavour of the herbs and hill grasses in it.
We use a local abattoir so that the sheep suffer no stressful journeys, again ensuring that nothing compromises the quality of the meat.
Our method of farming, combined with our practice of hanging the meat for 10 days, produces hogget and mutton that is generally a leaner meat with a full, rich taste and a wonderful succulence.