Ovine Delights

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This post is composed for David and Joanna, over at Pairidox Farm. They have been asking for some ovine shots from around Scotland, and so here is a collection from this past year. These first photos are from Loch Carron in Wester Ross, and these sheep have some amazing views down the loch and across to Skye.

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I wonder if these lucky sheep have some of the best views from fields in the country? They certainly looked content, if a little shy, and I love the way their ears shine pink in the sunlight. They say that fairy or fay animals are identified by having pink ears…..I wonder.

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Mother and daughter are enjoying the spring warmth and the sweet fresh grass. These photos were taken at the end of March this year.

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The next set are an unusual looking breed of sheep, but I found them full of character. I took these down in Northumberland in the middle of April on a walk through Northumberland’s National Park. They were super confident, not an ounce of shyness, and seemed to enjoy the attention.

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The ram in particular seemed to know he was rather handsome.

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This ewe gave us a very pretty smile, with her pearly white teeth. Her ear tags almost look like ear-rings!

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And then the ram granted us a beautiful profile shot. I would be intrigued to know their breed, as I loved their dark wrinkly faces, and their cheeky confidence. I would say they had lots of character compared to your average sheep.

There is a very mixed feeling about sheep in Highland Scotland, as during the Clearances people were moved off their ancestral lands and sent to foreign shores, to make way for sheep, and the wealth the Lairds thought they would bring them. To finish off this ovine post here is part of The Canadian Boat Song, lamenting the loss of the old homeland and the invasion of the sheep.

LISTEN to me, as when ye heard our father
Sing long ago the song of other shores—
Listen to me, and then in chorus gather
All your deep voices as ye pull your oars:
Fair these broad meads—these hoary woods are grand; 5
But we are exiles from our fathers’ land.

From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas—
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides: 10
Fair these broad meads, &c.

We ne’er shall tread the fancy-haunted valley,
Where ’tween the dark hills creeps the small clear stream,
In arms around the patriarch banner rally,
Nor see the moon on royal tombstones gleam: 15
Fair these broad meads, &c.

When the bold kindred, in the time long-vanished,
Conquered the soil and fortified the keep,—
No seer foretold the children would be banished,
That a degenerate Lord might boast his sheep: 20
Fair these broad meads, &c.

Come foreign rage—let Discord burst in slaughter!
O then for clansmen true, and stern claymore—
The hearts that would have given their blood like water,
Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar: 25
Fair these broad meads—these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers’ land.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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27 Responses to Ovine Delights

  1. Paula says:

    Hi Seonaid, I am sorry I could not focus on the Canadian song, I am mesmarised by the stunning landscape and sheep portraits.

  2. ladyfi says:

    What delightful shots! (Just wanted to let ewe know…)

  3. frizztext says:

    these sheep have some amazing views down the Loch Carron…

  4. 2geeks3knots says:

    We adore the smiling ewe 🙂 What a beautiful place— no wonder she’s smiling. Love the earrings!

  5. An unrelated fact – Lochcarron is one of my favourite short 9-hole golf courses – watch for it as you drive into the village from the east; the third crosses the ‘main road’. A tempting shot when a high sided vehicle approaches 🙂
    Love those ear-ring shots.

    • The ear-rings have been a big hit. Maybe we have started a new trend 🙂
      I know that golf course well, not because I’m a golfer, but my father and my son have been known to enjoy putting a few balls 🙂

  6. What great shots of such beautiful subjects. The wrinkly-faced inquisitive ones look like shar-peis! Looks like you had some lovely days in both Northumberland and your friends’ Highland farm.

  7. icelandpenny says:

    Yes, we (Canada) were the beneficiaries of the Clearances; the Scots were the backbone of our fledging commercial and especially financial enterprises. Not to mention all those “Bay boys” (employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company) up in the Arctic. We owe a lot to Scotland.
    New topic! I also love your dark-faced, wrinkly-faced sheep. What characters!

    • Thanks Penny, and I sometimes think parts of Canada are more Scottish than Scotland. I have quite a lot of relatives over your way 🙂

      • icelandpenny says:

        For e.g. bagpipes are a staple of civic functions and university graduations etc… and even street-corner busking! I think too that Scottish-English hugely influenced our English-Canadian accent — which so amuses Americans, (cf “Ooot-aboot-the-hoose,” their version of how we say “out about the house”)

  8. Wonderful, wonderful. Joanna looked over my shoulder to read and to admire. The black-faced animals look like Suffolks … we have them here in the US and used to raise them along side our Shetlands when our girls raised sheep. The white animals look to my eye like Cheviots … beautiful animals. The ram is HANDSOME and the pastures by the Loch are (as the kids would say) TOTALLY BEAUTIFUL. I wish I could pasture my animals in such a beautiful setting. Thanks Seonaid for taking me to Shepherd for a bit in a part of the world I can only hope to visit someday. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again. Beautiful post (kinda shows you my bias, doesn’t it?). D (and J)

    • I’m so very happy you liked and enjoyed the post. I was thinking of you guys when I took the shots, and thanks for identifying the Suffolk breed. I do think that our sheep are very spoilt in terms of field locations and views. I passed some sheep this evening in the foothills of the Pentlands as I drove through…I think they were more Cheviots….I’m beginning to sound like an expert, and Im very happy to have brought you some shepherding shots 🙂

  9. ginnietom says:

    magic…best of life in the countryside I watched these days…

  10. Lucid Gypsy says:

    The ewe with the colgate smile is priceless!

  11. colonialist says:

    What absolutely stunning views those mobile wool factories enjoy!
    I hope you said, ‘How do ewe do,’ very politely?

  12. boxertreiber says:

    Falling in love, määäähh 😉

  13. Caro Woods says:

    Love the close-ups. Such characters.

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