'It is heart-rending': Brora kayaker issues plea for help to rescue stranded sheep
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A BRORA resident is appealing for help to rescue a solitary sheep which has been marooned for more than two years on an area of shingle beach at the foot of a cliff.
Jillian Turner has contacted a number of organisations to no avail and is now raising awarenesses of the animal’s plight in the hope that an individual or service might be able to help.
Ms Turner first spotted the sheep two years ago during a paddling trip from Balintore to Nigg with East Sutherland Canoe and Kayak Club.
She said: “About half a mile before turning into the Cromarty Firth we spotted a sheep on a shingle beach at the bottom of some steep, rocky coastline.
“She saw us coming and was calling to us along the length of the beach following our progress until she could go no further. She finally turned back, looking defeated.”
Ms Turner did not think too much about it at that point, believing the sheep would manage to make her way up the rocky face.
But the canoe club took the same journey again recently and she was horrified to see that the animal was still there.
“She called out on our approach and once again followed the group along the shore jumping from rock to rock, calling to us the whole way,” she said.
“Her fleece on the first occasion was a normal year’s growth, however on the recent trip the fleece was huge and touching the ground at the back.”
She added: “The poor ewe has been on her own for at least two years – for a flock animal that has to be torture, and she seemed desperate to make contact with us on the two occasions we’ve gone past her.
“It is heart-rending. We honestly thought she might make her way back up that first year.”
The sheep is not of the same breed as those belonging to farmers in the local area. It is thought it could have been part of a flock that was temporarily on nearby grazings.
Since spotting the sheep again, Ms Turner has appealed to anyone she could think of that might be able to facilitate a rescue, but she has drawn a blank.
“I contacted the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, who were very sympathetic but can’t take any action unless given a shout from an emergency service such as police or fire brigade,” she said.
“I also contacted the SSPCA and the call handler was sympathetic, but an inspector got back to me and indicated that the sheep was known to them but was not in any danger. I don’t have any confidence in them actioning a rescue.”
She continued: “I walked along the top of the cliffs and located the bay from above. It is really steep with difficult access due to gorse, bracken and fencing.
“The shore is shallow and has easy access. What we need is a semi-ridged inflatable that can go in, and for at least one of my farming friends to go along with a dog and capture her. I have had sheep myself so I think it’s possible and so do they.
“We did see some guys in such a boat the first year, hauling up creels, possibly from Cromarty so maybe a fisherman could help.”
If the sheep is rescued, Ms Turner said she would be able to “home it” with a farmer friend.
“She deserves to be rescued and given a good few years with other sheep,” she said.
Anyone who might be able to help is asked to email: email@example.com