Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ingleborough sheep gathering

Bright & early, 5am, Monday 27th June, meet at Bleak Bank Farm, our neighbours, a quarter mile down the road. A glorious morning, almost cloudless, a party of about 12 people, set off for the summit of Ingleborough, where at 6am we meet farmers from Cold Cotes. Other farmers are on Simon Fell to the north-east and under the cliffs of Ingleborough to the west, to drive sheep and lambs off the fell for shearing.

Jack, our Jack Russell terrier, out on this sort of exercise for the first time, meets collies & herding dogs about their business, rather than in the farmyards or on walks. Actually shows some instinct for herding too!

With people staked out across the fell, we sweep across the hillside, gathering sheep down to Clapham, Newby, Bleak Bank & Cold Cotes, then after a hearty breakfast start the business of sorting sheep & lambs back to their respective farms. Only after lunch did shearing begin.

My job in all of this was to feed sheep in to the shearers, & once shorn hold them to be marked & released. Sheep can be, NO - ARE difficult.. Needless to say, I am black & blue all over my legs. clothes & boots covered in poo, red marking paint, and wool snippings but return home at 7pm exhausted & having had a wonderful day. Thank you John (Dawson) at Bleak Bank for a great day. Thanks too to Judy for great food & the photo above.

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