JUST a year into intensive training to become a top cheesemaker, Sam Horton has found himself among the leading eight in the country.

After waltzing through the written test, the 28-year-old who works for The Courtyard Dairy in Settle, is now in the final for the coveted Young Cheesemaker award at the British Cheese awards.

Sam admitted to being both overjoyed and nervous. “I really hope I can do The Courtyard Dairy proud. They’ve taught me well – so fingers crossed.”

As part of his training, he has been on external cheese making courses and made umpteen visits to the small farms the dairy works with.

Owner, Kathy Swinscoe said, “Sam has become an integral part of the team as we grow and move to our new location at The Old Falconry Centre over the summer.

"We really hope he can develop even more with us – taking on roles to help with our one-day cheesemaking courses and getting involved in the cheese-cafe.

"We’re really proud he’s made it through to the final – it just shows his dedication towards proper farmhouse cheese.”

The final takes place in front of the judges at Bath & West Show Ground competing in tasks such as a ‘cut & wrap’ exercise where competitors will have to cut and wrap different weights of cheese from whole cheeses by sight with no use of weighing scales.

Also contestants will have to taste and identify a number of unmarked cheeses and they will also take part in a Mastermind-style quiz and give responses to questions asked about British cheese.

The British Cheese Awards, which hosts over 800 cheeses, runs from Wednesday, May 31 to Saturday. June 3.