Growing up in Scotland makes it impossible not to fall in love with the countryside and all its beautiful wildlife.
This was how countryman and farmer Hunter Adair developed and pursued his great love of animals and the farming industry.
He was born and raised in Ayrshire but later moved just across the border where he married a farmer’s daughter and started running the family farm in Hexham, Northumberland.
He said: ‘I moved to England because there wasn’t the work in Scotland at the time. I tried to get a job within artificial insemination in Paisley but they didn’t have any vacancies. My mother suggested I tried the English Milk Marketing Board so that’s why I came to England.’
‘I think I missed Scotland at the start but I’m in touch with it all the time, really. It’s my home, isn’t it?’
Hunter joined the Milk Marketing Board for England and Wales in 1958 and spent a lot of time working in the north of England at their cattle breeding centre at Penrith. Not long after in 1965 he was appointed Regional Officer in the north.
He continued: ‘That meant I visited dairy farms from Harrowgate to Berwick-upon-Tweed to make sure farmers produced good clean milk and got paid for it.
‘At one time there were 12 dairy farms above Berwick-upon-Tweed in Scotland and it was more efficient to bring the milk to a creamery at Alnwick in Northumberland than it was to take it to Glasgow. I was in charge of that whole operation.’
Hunter has made a huge difference to the farming and country community across the UK. Whilst working for the Milk Marketing Board, he was asked by the Minister of Agriculture to take primary school children out to the nearby farms and dairies.
It was as he was doing this three days a month for several years that he came to realise how little the children knew about farming and the countryside. This inspired him to write books for children based on these subjects.
Eight books later and he’s donated thousands of these and the DVDs he had made, to primary schools in the north of England and in Scotland.
These titles include Guide to the Countryside, How to Build Stone Walls, The History of the Clydesdale Horse, Farm Animals and Farming, and The People who Live and Work in the Countryside, to name a few.
‘I’ve been involved all the time with children and schools. But my aim was to teach children about farming and the countryside and where food comes from; that kind of thing. That was my real aim.’
Overall Hunter has written about 30 books with eight more manuscripts in the pipeline. They are all linked to aspects of the country – farming, wildlife, the countryside – and include lots of stunning drawings and paintings also done by the man himself.
He said: ‘My books, drawings and paintings were on the Country Trust website and the Royal Highland Education Trust was linked into this. It was all free to use for children and teachers.’
The Country Trust is a charity that works on getting children from deprived areas in England and Wales more involved in learning about the countryside.
Similarly, The Royal Highland Education Trust is a charity that strives for the same outcome, creating opportunities for Scottish children to obtain a greater understanding and experience of rural life. They achieve this through different activities; taking children to farms (as Hunter has done), sending speakers to visit the children in the classrooms and forming a network of local groups.
In 2002 Hunter was named runner up as Country Person of the Year in England, a title awarded from thousands of nominations. In 2010 he was invited to the garden party at Buckingham Palace upon further recognition of his incredible work in promoting a love and knowledge of the countryside in children.
Hunter Adair has dedicated most of his life to the countryside and the farming industry in one way or another; through writing a vast number of books covering so many aspects of the rural world, having an active involvement in primary schools and in encouraging children to develop this knowledge, and supporting several charities in their quests to involve more children in country life.
His work and his impact in these areas have been phenomenal and invaluable, both to children and to the wider countryside community.
The books can all be downloaded below.