Tolsta Foalan at The Big Garden Croft, Isle of Eriskay
Jonathan: How does the saying go? Blood Will Out ? We exchanged our two sweet little darlings of ewe lambs for Tolsta Foalan – The Beast of Tolsta Moor, we call him! He was bred, born and raised in Tolsta, becoming ram-in-chief, lord of all he surveyed, which apparently was quite a lot. And then he got put in wee field in Eriskay, shared with the sheep equivalent of one spotty teenage boy and six others still in their shorts, dozens of pecky hens – not to mention a mob of cockerels forever at each others throats and who have the temerity to steal – from under his very nose – his morning ration – food being his one remaining pleasure in life. Those ewes he was promised? Each morning he’s been allowed to look at them, smell them, through the bars of the gate, but …
Well, a couple of days ago he was at last let out, swapping places with our home-bred Baghasdal. He was like an old-fashioned clockwork toy car: wind him up, and let him go! And go he did – with all the charm and grace of a the proverbial male bovine in a shop dedicated to the purveying of fine porcelain. Poor Baghasdal was distraught! But he’d get over it! Woudn’t he?
Jonathan: A glorious day as autumn finally starts to give way to winter. A light dusting of snow yesterday (unusual for November) but today the Outer Hebrides has been the sunniest and mildest place in the UK. Wish you were here?
Jonathan. Late Friday, rounded up the ewe lambs and plucked out of the fank the two best that I’d registered with the Hebridean Sheep Society, ready for taking away to exchange for a ram. An Garradh Mor Cataraidh is really lovely. Large for her age, good shape and strongly built, she also has a very dark fleece of long, soft, glossy and slightly curled locks – just gorgeous. In the photo of them both eating, you can see the difference in character of the two lambs’ fleeces. Cataraidh is on the left. Her half-sister Canach has a really good fleece too, finely crimped, more uniform, perhaps softer and warmer, but lacking the tendency to form those luscious locks that make Cataraidh’s fleece so exceptional. The close up of Cataraidh’s fleece doesn’t really do it justice: it’s been raining steadily all morning, so they don’t look their best! Cataraidh doesn’t seem to mind her fleece being fondled – which is odd because she wasn’t a pet lamb. With their big dark eyes, long black eyelashes (I’d swear they flutter them!) they are Beauty personified!