Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ rescued after being stranded for two years

Fiona, Britain’s loneliest sheep, had been stranded for over two years on the foot of the cliffs of Cromarty Firth, with a petition to rescue her reaching over 52,000 isgnatures

Maira Butt
Saturday 04 November 2023 17:18 GMT
Meet Marty, the guard llama protecting sheep

A stranded sheep dubbed ‘Britain’s loneliest’ has been rescued after nearly two years on a remote shore in Scotland.

Animal welfare charities had warned that any operation to save the animal, which has now been named Fiona, would be “incredibly complex”.

However, a group of farmers took the initative to save her using old-school methods. Cammy Wilson, a sheep shearer from Ayrshire, organised a rescue mission after seeing media coverage on the ewe’s plight.

A presenter on BBC’s Landward programme, Mr Wilson organised the mission in his personal time alongside four others. They hauled Fiona up a steep slope using heavy equipment.

Fiona found herself trapped at the bottom of Scottish cliffs in Cromarty Firth

He was joined in the rescue by fellow farmers Graeme Parker, Als Couzens, Ally Williamson and James Parker.

Two of them stayed at the top to operate a winch while three others were lowered 250m (820ft) down the cliff to reach Fiona who was found in a cave.

In a video posted to Facebook, Mr Wilson said: “She’s in incredible condition. She is about a condition score of about 4.5, she is overfat - it was some job lifting her up that slope.”

In an interview with BBC News he acknowledged how risky the mission could be:“The only difference between us being heroes and idiots is a slip of the foot.”

A petition calling for a rescue mission had reached more than 52,000 signatures and Mr Wilson reported part of his determination had come from seeing misinformation online.

He said unfair comments towards the farmer whose flock Fiona had become stranded from had moved him to organise the mission. “People were starting to show up on his land and it wasn’t fair,” he said.

Her fleece reaches the ground and will be sheared, other than which she is said to be in “good bodily condition”

Sheep are herd animals, and while they can survive alone, they thrive better among others of ther kind according to scientists.

The Scottish SPCA said it had been aware of the ewe being stranded at the bottom of the cliff for some time but was unable to find a safe way to rescue her.

A spokesperson for the charity told the BBC: “This morning the Scottish SPCA were in attendance at the hillside after they were made aware that a group of individuals with climbing expertise were attempting to rescue the stranded sheep by descending down to where she was trapped.

“The team brought the ewe up successfully and our inspector examined her.

“Thankfully the sheep is in good bodily condition, aside from needing to be sheared. She will now be taken to a specialist home within Scotland to rest and recover.”

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