Just back from site visit to Harris. Lucky to get home at all today, as all inter-island ferries cancelled from mid-day on: just Loch Portain to return to her home port in Berneray – thank heavens! Driving home through Uist buffeted about by violent squalls of wind and rain. Everywhere poor lambs sheltering behind their mums or anything higher than them – even a clump of rushes. For heaven’s sake it’s the 1st of June today!!! However the storm though violent has been short and cyclonic, veering round over 6hrs or so from NW round by NE and SE to SW, bring and end – for now, at least – to the constant bitter wind from the north we’ve endured for all but a day or two of May.
Jonathan: Having completed all I could do for now making adjustments to fencing to keep in naughtly little lambs, and with the sunshine just a bit stronger than the biting NW wind, I decided to indulge in a bit of photography: nothing special, just clumps of sea-pinks clinging onto the battered rocks, buttercups flourishing in the streams, sheep grazing, view across to South Uist, when suddenly I noticed something dark moving down on the shore, amongst the rocks. Thinking it might be a seal I swung the camera round and … goodness me! … it’s one of our own Hebridean lambs, helping himself to seaweed. Yes, I know about North Ronaldsay ‘Seaweed’ sheep, but even they will prefer grass if given the chance. And I’ve heard that other sheep do eat seaweed if they feel in the need of the minerals. But this is the first time I’ve actually seen it. The continuing cold wet and windy weather – it’s the last day of May but feels like the last of April, at best! – means that the grass is still only growing slowly, so I’m still having to give the ewes sheep pellets. The ewes are eating for themselves and to produce milk for the lambs, so if they were really desperate (and judging from the condition of the grass and their behaviour they are not), then surely they too would be down on the shore eating seaweed. So for now I’m assuming that this lamb is just adventurous, trying out what’s good to eat and what is not. Hungry or adventurous? I think the latter.