Get closer to Walter Peak High Country Farm through its people, places and experiences.
Beyond its farm-to-plate gourmet BBQ food, the land hosts a working farm that is stocked full of experiences waiting to inspire, entertain, and engage. If you're visiting for dinner on the sunny terrace or hoping to give Dougal the Highland Cow's head a scratch, read on to discover why Walter Peak gets you even closer to nature.
Sheepdogs aren’t just man’s best friend for Peter Hamilton, they’re also man’s best colleague. As the rural operations manager at Walter Peak High Country Farm, the sheepdogs make up a good portion of his employees, and he admits, "I’ve always loved the sheepdogs, and it's why I learned how to train them."
He tells us that his family breeds them and it's where they’ve all come from. Having worked and trained sheepdogs since he was eleven, we think it could be in Peter’s blood to be our resident sheepdog trainer. He tells us the relationship is satisfyingly symbiotic: “they start to learn from you, and you learn from them. Watching them get it, they suddenly know, and you feel like you don’t even need to be there.”
Walter Peak High Country Farm asks its guests to come for the dining experience but to stay for the history. Originally constructed in 1902, the property was carefully reconstructed in 1977 after an accidental fire. Still a picture-perfect colonial building with an iconic red roof, The Homestead is an emblem easily spotted against the earthy colours surrounding it. And as you approach the farm, there's a nostalgic feeling deep inside that spreads like a warm embrace. You notice The Homestead Restaurant staff standing on the expansive terrace, waving to you. It’s a genuine welcome that feels like coming home.
It's common knowledge that dogs are intelligent. However, the sheepdogs over at Walter Peak High Country Farm are in a league of their own. Trained by Peter, whose family has bred the farm’s dogs for years, the pups are almost human in how they understand language.
The dog show is the climax of skilled farm work and a surprising spectacle. As the crowds gather in the bright amphitheatre, nestled in the heart of the farm, the dogs on stage are relaxed and confident in their guaranteed glory. On command, the chosen dog races up the steep hill to locate the sheep, to a song of whistles and clicks and voice commands from Sonya, the dog whisperer on stage that afternoon.
Overall, the most unbelievable feeling is witnessing the reciprocated trust from man to dog. Peter later tells us, "a lot of the time, you really can trust your dogs. I can go out and not pay attention, and they still get the job done well." And heck, do we think the dogs deserve a round of a-paws.
Catch the farm dog show when you next head over to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a tour. Find out more information here.