‘Heart-rending’: Britain’s loneliest sheep stranded on cliff for two years
A sheep has been stranded at the foot of a Scottish Highlands cliff for two years, earning the animal the moniker “Britain’s loneliest sheep”, and prompting animal lovers to call for it to be rescued.
The ewe was first spotted by Ms Jillian Turner during a paddling trip with her kayak club from Balintore to Nigg in Scotland in 2021.
She made the same trip recently and was horrified to see the same sheep – albeit with a thicker, longer coat.
British newspapers have reported on this, calling the ewe Britain’s loneliest sheep.
Recalling her first encounter with the animal, Ms Turner said she saw the ewe on a shingles beach at the bottom of a 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,” she told Scottish newspaper the Northern Times on Oct 24.
While the sighting made an impression on her, Ms Turner was not overly concerned, thinking that the sheep would make its way back to the fields at the top of the cliffs.
However, she was shocked to find the same animal still there when she made the same kayaking trip recently.
“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.”
Ms Turner said the sheep looked the same, except it has overgrown fleece.
“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.”
Describing the situation as “heart-rending”, Ms Turner 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.”
Ms Turner tried approaching animal organisations for help but all came to nought.
Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chief superintendent Mike Flynn said the charity was aware of the sheep being stranded at the bottom of a cliff.
“The sheep has ample grazing in the area but we have not been able to ascertain who the sheep belongs to. We will continue to have further checks when the weather allows and it is safe to do so,” Mr Flynn told The Guardian.
Some animal lovers have started a petition to rescue the ewe at Change.org.
“We believe every life matters and we are committed to ensuring this lonely sheep gets rescued from its precarious situation,” said Mr Edoardo L’Astorina, who started the petition on Oct 29.
“We want to take this to the Scottish SPCA and show them how many of us care about this lonely animal and help raise funds for professional animal rescuers who have the skills and resources necessary for such a challenging rescue operation.”
Many people were also aghast at the sheep’s plight.
“I am so heartbroken for this poor sheep. Please rescue it and let it know love and peace at a sanctuary,” said Ms Sally Marles on Change.org’s petition, while Ms Nicola Hoare said it was “simply inhumane” not to rescue the animal.
Ms Carol McGuffie said she was “disgusted” that the ewe has been on its own for all this time.
“I give a monthly donation to the SSPCA and have done so for many years. I am now considering cancelling this,” she said.
Ms Turner said if the sheep is rescued, she can rehome it with a friend who owns a farm.
“She deserves to be rescued and given a good few years with other sheep,” she said.