Milkhope was one of the larger farms on the Kidland Estate situated to the North West of Kidlandlee on the other side of the valley to the Heigh.


In 1932 Mr. John Dickson and his family moved to Milkhope from Scotland when he was fourteen years of age. He was the youngest son of four siblings, two brothers, Frank and Kid, and a sister, Maggie. At this time Milkhope was a three bedroomed house with pantry, kennels, byre and stables.

The farm was owned by Mr Geoffry Robson of Bellingham. As with other farms in the area only a small flock of 300 sheep were farmed with a small herd of cows. The three main areas of land were Inner Hill, Cushat Law and Wholehope Hill. Each hill was tended to be the father, Frank and Kid respectively. All stock reared at Milkhope were sold at the autumn Mart in Rothbury. At this annual event the shepherds would stay at the food merchant Crown and Oliver in the village itself. All dog feed was supplied. The slopes were so steap that one year they lost a cow. It lost its footing and rolled to the bottom of the hill. After that incident the cows were kept in a fenced enclosure.

The clipping of the flock took place in mid June at Milkhope itself. Extra help was supplied by the shepherds from The Heigh. In return the Dickson family would help with the clipping at the Heigh.

MilkhopeAlthough no arable crops were produced at Milkhope the land was consitered to be very fertile. They grew their own Raspberries, Gooseberries, tatties and hay. There was one acre of potatoes and 30 acres of hay. The ground surrounding Milkhope is very steep so steep that all the potatoes were sown and harvested by hand. The thirty acre hay field was harvested by horse raker where possible and by hand and sythe for the remaining. To suppliment the potatoes they had milk from the cow and eggs from the hens that they brought down from Scotland. Fresh wild Trout and rabbit were often on the menu. The fishing rods can be seen in the photo on the right. All other provisions were brought from the food merchants on a Tuesday mornings at Kidlandlee Dean. The water supply was from two burns, one to the North of the building and one to the South. During the winter months a long pole had to be left above the stream so that the supply could be found in the snow.

Heating was provided by peat fires. The peat was traditionally cut in the week after lambing in the spring from a dry site one and a half miles to the North of the house. More peat had to be cut than was need just incase the next season was too wet to cut some. It is far easier to dry the peat out side than indoors.

The lighting at Milkhope was by parafin lamps. Every once in a while someone would have to walk to Kidlandlee to buy some more parafin.

During the Dickson's time at Milkhope the wireless came into fashion.

Maggie Dickson was married in the Preciparian church in Harbottle. The Do afterwards was held in the New Hall in the village. John Dickson remembers the night fondly: There was a spiral staircase leading from the bar downstaires up to the dance floor. John decended the staires to find Mr. Bob Davison, the grocer, in a drunken heap at the bottom having clearly fallen down the stairs. John inquired to see if he was alright and got the reply of 'coming down at any rate'.