It Really is About the Sheep….

But I do want to start this last blog of the trip with an acknowledgment and huge thanks to those who made this trip possible and those who made it work along the way. Even though many of them will never see this blog , it needs saying nonetheless.

First, to my husband who helped keep things running smoothly at home, keeping materials organized to feed the flock and in general staying alert for problems (none of which seemed to have happened this time!) and is my biggest supporter in all things sheep. And thanks to Marni and Teddi who watched over and fed the flock.

Over here, our hosts Billy and Jenny at our flat in Lerwick (Shetland) who collected us from the airport and helped us with advice – even medical – and were a friendly couple to interact with. Big thanks to Steph’s mother, Kathy, who found us other things to do when weather cancelled some plans. Thanks to the tea shop ladies who were fun to talk with and to the tour guide who helped me find all those ponies and sheep even though he didn’t understand at first why I would want to look for sheep!

In the Outer Hebrides, Duncan, our bus driver, and all the pensioners on the bus that got us from Benbecula to Eriskay slipway. They were chatty and hilarious and made the trip much shorter. Chrissie, my host at the B&B for the last three days, thanks for her endless offers of strupak (tea and biscuits) and even a homemade meal my last evening, and her joking and lively converation. A special thanks to Jonathan and Denise for taking me to places I never would have found, all the descriptions of places and people, all the meals (and strupaks – my new favorite word!), and the packaging help, their explanations of how a croft works, and most of all for their friendship. And finally, to the man on the ferry who helped me feel confident about getting to the airport from the Barra ferry. If the bus left without us, he spoke with a crew member who offered to let us use his van to get to the airport. This is known as having a Plan B!

But now, on to the reason for these trips. Why I travel so far from home, leaving my flock and work so that I can explore other breeds of sheep and learn from the people who work with them and their fiber. Bringing these ideas and stories home can then inform the work I do with our flock and their fiber. One never knows what form that may take but it is an inspiration for sure.

So here are some final photos from South Uist.

This map shows the area I moved to for staying in the. B&B – An Leth Meadhanach and Baghasdal. Some of the photos are from that area or nearby areas in South Uist. Being advised to get off the main roads, I can see why that matters. You get closer to the sheep and it is easier to pull over to get those shots!

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Sheep here are used to rock climbing.

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These look like they were enjoying some sun that we did get.

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I decided it was also important to try and capture where these sheep live – which is everywhere. It became less important to try and get the perfectly composed photo (although I did try for a few of those as well!) but rather to show their everyday environment, even if it wasn’t pretty because this is their real life.

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Sheep are often crossing the road. This group would see me coming in the village and then would cross in front of the car, going back into their pasture through a hole in the fence. I think it was a regular routine. The second one seems to be saying, please don’t rush me!

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And even though I am not sure the Scottish Blackface wool or the cross (perhaps with Cheviot) wool is very valued here, I can’t help appreciating how the fleeces look on these animals. I would be happy to work with it!

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Of course, it is hard to beat the lambs with their cuteness factor added, whether they are nursing, playing or resting.

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Visiting during the spring has the added bonus of getting to see all the lambs and their proud mothers.

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It has been, as always, a pleasure to get to see these sheep in their natural environment and to appreciate the diversity here. Looking forward to more trips and more sheep!

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Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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