Ema Caskie, Northumberland National Park
Meet some real-life heroes in my series of special interviews with people who represent the spirit and heart of the North East.
Ema Caskie is a Farming & Rural Enterprise Officer for Northumberland National Park, which involves helping and advising farmers and land managers with linking upland farming and the environment.
In this interview, Ema tells us about her work, her favourite place in the region, and more…
Ema, please tell us a bit about you and your connection with the North East.I am born and brought up in Northumberland and have a strong connection with the county, it’s remoteness and vastness. I love the views and the variety, from swathes of beautiful coastline right up to the vast rolling hills of the Cheviots and the open moors beyond. I love the quaint towns and villages and how they fragment the landscape yet add their own character and stories to the county.
Tell us about your role at Northumberland National Park – what do you love most about the work you do?I feel very lucky and privileged to be able to work in the county that is my home; in the countryside where my heart belongs and with like-minded people who are strongly linked to the landscape. In my role with the National Park, I help and advise farmers and land managers with linking upland farming and the environment – working with them to find the fine balance between sustainable food production and enhancing the environment. I support the farming community to explore different ways of working their farms, informing them of opportunities or projects in their area and developing ideas in partnership. I’m fortunate to be working on an exciting project along Hadrian’s Wall, involving a group of land managers working together to enhance local nature and the environment. I feel proud feeling as though I am having an influence on how the landscape in Northumberland National Park is today and in the future.
That sounds like important work. Which three words best describe the North East to you?‘Remote’, ‘Vast’, ‘Peaceful’.
It’s often said that the people and landscapes of the North East are full of ‘spirit’ and ‘heart’. What do you love most about the region?Working alongside people who are closely linked to the landscape; they are full of heart and spirit. Farming is a small, tight knit community here and the camaraderie shines through. Everyone knows everyone and people will always help out in times of need – there’s a strong community spirit.
I can imagine! Is there one place you always like to visit that you would recommend to others?The Northumberland coast is stunning. It is the complete opposite landscape to where I have been brought up and work in, and therefore a good walk on the beach helps me to clear my head and switch off for the time I am there. You can walk for miles without even realising it and hardly see a soul.
The coastline here is magical, isn’t it? What is your favourite North-Eastern slang?‘Give ower yersel’ – It’s a unique, direct but friendly way of saying you disagree with someone!
The North East is packed with history, myths and legends, songs and folklore. Do you have a favourite story, myth, or song that you associate with the area?A folk song called ‘The Canny Shepherd Laddie’.
Who are your North East heroes?Brian Johnson (AC/DC) and my grandfather.
Finally, what makes you smile?The old ‘Coquet’ dialect/accent. You hardly hear it these days, but when I do, it reminds me of my grandfather. My husband, who is from the west coast of Scotland and my grandfather – both farmers – never did understand what each other were saying and I found myself being a translator for both most of the time.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Ema! It was fantastic talking with you.
Special thanks to Kate Baguley, who helped co-ordinate this interview.