Neil Wainwright began farming Belted Galloway cattle as a hobby.

Little did he know that, a few years later, his herd of ‘Belties’ would have grown to 200 with their meat travelling all around the country and the cattle themselves becoming minor social media celebrities.  
The Wainwright family has been farming for four generations, rearing dairy cows in Cheshire before Neil’s parents moved to Castle Farm, in Low Hesket.  
However, after milk prices collapsed in 2015, Neil diversified into managing an estate which grows grass and wheat, providing fuel for a large anaerobic digester in Penrith which produces power for the national grid.  
However, he bought a small number of Belted Galloway cattle to keep. 
When the pandemic struck in 2020, Neil’s daughter Connie returned to the family farm from London - where she worked in the pharmaceutical industry.  
“I kept in contact with colleagues down in London,” she said. “They were really interested in what was going on on the farm and so I started the Castle Belties Instagram for our Belted Galloway cattle and the following just grew from there.” 
One particularly successful Instagram reel featured Neil scratching a bull’s back accompanied by Thin Lizzy’s The Boys are Back in Town. The video garnered 250,000 views and helped grow Castle Belties’ Instagram audience to around 4,800. 
The social media following on Facebook and Instagram spawned enquiries from people asking if they could buy the meat and the family began fulfilling orders up and down the country in December 2020. 
Connie says posts which seem to resonate particularly well with their target audience include those about animal welfare. "We try to farm as naturally as possible, by having grass fed stock which are well looked after in the winter," she said.  
"I think the main thing is showing that we farm in an ethical way. There's a lot of misinformation about farming in general, which is inaccurate, or based on US production systems. We really get the message across about how we farm in the UK, how we're passionate about our livestock and that you can really care for and respect your livestock and still eat them at the same time."