CHRISTMAS is a wonderful time of year for many of us - a time to relax, put our feet up, spend time with family and friends, indulge in all of the fabulous food on offer and many homes were filled with the delightful smells of festive cooking.

But if you have a farm to run, how different does that time look?

Teleri Fielden, the latest National Trust Llyndy Isaf scholar and former Farmers’ Union of Wales marketing and membership manager, was looking forward to her first Christmas at the 614-acre upland farm in Nant Gwynant, nestled in the heart of Snowdonia.

Having spent a few years abroad, Teleri was excited to spend this one on the farm.

Ahead of the festive season, Teleri said: “It's actually my first time in Wales for Christmas for a few years, so I'm really looking forward to being with my family - and dogs!

"A Welsh Christmas will be very special. The only trouble is I have to host it this time!

“But I think having family and dogs there for Christmas will make it much more homely- food smells and Christmas lights and a mess!

"It's quite a big house for one person and a dog, so it'll be nice to fill it.”

The farm extends from the shores of the beautiful Llyn Dinas up to the summit of Moel y Dyniewyd and includes a mix of heath, bog and woodland habitats rich in wildlife.

In addition to managing a flock of Welsh mountain ewes and a herd of Welsh Black cattle, the farm takes part in the Glastir Agri-Environment scheme and includes several Sites of Scientific Special Interest (SSSI) with a strong emphasis on conservation farming.

Nearly three months into the scholarship, Teleri said that the weather had been a challenge.

“The rain is... serious.

"I had a visit from a Nuffield Scholar from Australia recently and he found it hilarious when I checked the weather and said excitedly 'Ooh you’re lucky- it’s not chucking it down!'.

“However, it’s such a beautiful place, the mountains are stunning.

"I think upland sheep farming is tough, though, in a lot of ways, the weather and terrain being one of them.

"And, at the moment, (with) the uncertainty of Brexit (tariffs, support payments etc), and the fact that there are not many options to diversify within farming itself out of hardy sheep and cattle, I certainly couldn’t finish cattle or go into vegetable production on Llyndy without causing some environmental damage.

“But it does lend itself to environmental schemes definitely. I’ve found quite a communal feeling here within the farming community too - everyone really helps each other out, especially around gathering time.”

Despite not having grown up on a farm, Teleri has always sought out opportunities to gain farming experience.

From an early age, she helped out on her grandparents farm and more recently worked and studied on a mixed research farm in the French Rhone Alps, which included mountain shepherding at 3,000 feet!

Teleri was also short-listed and interviewed for the National Trust’s Parc Farm on the Great Orme.

Talking about the challenges of the scholarship, Teleri added: “A lot of it has been challenging in a great way.

"The physicality being one thing - wrestling ewes that weigh the same as me, trying not to get shoved by the cows and walking the terrain of Llyndy is quite challenging.

“I’ve also found it hard how much I’ve had to ask the Hafod y Llan team for help, although that is also a great experience because I’m just learning so much from them.

"I’m slightly in awe of them really.

"I’ve found the dog training quite hard too. You can have the best day when Roy, my sheepdog, is working really well and improving, and then you have another day where it’s all gone wrong and you’ve got sheep ending up in all the wrong places!

“It also takes a while to get your head around Glastir and all the management options and stocking levels.

"The media attention has also been an interesting experience, but quite time consuming too. But I’m trying to make the most of it to get some good news stories out about farming.

"There is far too much negative press about our industry."

Teleri added: “I’m so lucky to get the chance to just focus on farming, plus all the learning and training I’m getting too.

"Every other time I’ve farmed, I’ve been busy with other things too - full time jobs, studying, etc, which can make it quite tough.

"I’m brimming with ideas now because I’ve got the time to think about it for once.

“I think if I went into a tenancy I wouldn’t get that freedom/time because I’d probably still need to be working to make it pay.

"I’ve also enjoyed the chance to meet and discuss things with like minded people through the platform Llyndy has given me.”