1 EAGLETON NOTES: Shepherding: Lewis style.

.

.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Shepherding: Lewis style.

We were having lunch yesterday when Gaz pointed out that in a croft several over from my house sheep were being moved. We see few enough sheep these days and most of the crofts are too overgrown and often too boggy for a quad bike to be used but here were sheep being moved using an ordinary two-wheel drive family car. It says a lot for the good husbandry of that croft (the car was driven from top to bottom) but also says something about the driver: that is not flat land by any means.
 



 



26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes Carol it is rather attractive: it is the basis of the whole way of life in the crofting areas of Scotland's North and West Highlands and Islands.

      Delete
  2. Never seen anything like it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sheep herding by car. We have lots of cars here but not many sheep. (Not in my neck of the woods, anyway.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think, Kay, that many people would be herding anything with a car as a rule.

      Delete
  4. OH, I just thought to tell you this. Did you know that the heart of a sheep is very close to the human heart? I only know this because years ago a heart was found in a bag on one of the roads and it was thought to be human. Turns out, it was from a sheep and had been used for medical purposes. No follow up as to why it had been thrown out on the roadside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay I was aware that pigs' hearts are similar to human ones but I didn't know that the same was true of sheep's hearts.

      Delete
  5. Wow this was interesting....who would have thought of sheep herding by car....looks like fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think, Virginia, that the answer is virtually no one would usually think of it.

      Delete
  6. That car is too far away to identify. Was it a Fiat Merino or perhaps a Toyota Swaledale?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think YP that it might have been a French Limousine.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful scenery. Now the people moving the sheep have quite a few skills. Obviously they know how to handle sheep and it looks like they know how to drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am always aware, Red, of the beauty of my surroundings.

      Delete
  8. This is good to see. I don't like seeing crofts or farms unused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish more of the crofts were as good as this one Adrian.

      Delete
  9. I wonder why they don't work with a dog? It seems the most natural thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't put petrol in a dog Meike!

      Delete
    2. Meike I think most people with sheep do have a dog but who knows why they were using a car in this case.

      Delete
  10. Your post rekindled a memory that had remained dormant for a few years. A couple of years after my arriving here to the hill when driving along the road just around the corner a bit from here where my cabin is as driving past a property thereon I saw some Scottish Highland cattle. It was a surprising sight to see. I drew to a stop to soak in the unusual sight. They're not a common here in Australia...to my knowledge, anyway. I never saw them again...so I don't know how long the people had them...but I'm glad I did see them that day. They're a fascinating-looking animal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee Highland Cattle are quite prolific in New Zealand and I know that there is (or was) a Highland Cattle Society in Australia. They are a wonderfully docile and hardy breed.

      Delete
  11. Good to see some of your neighbours farming something other than fences. The person driving the car seems to have more idea about shepherding sheep than does the person on foot. Lovely to see the view from your window again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Pauline the sheep are starting to return to the crofts that have been maintained sufficiently. Many are now almost beyond any economic recovery and the fences are falling into disrepair too.

      Delete
  12. I have not heard of a croft before. It is most interesting researching them. So in your area does each house in the village own a croft?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crofting law is complex Lynda. The original idea was that every croft house had a croft to help the occupants survive by keeping some livestock and growing potatoes and brassicas as part of a plural economy which usually involved fishing and weaving Harris Tweed as well. Crofts were not originally owned by the crofter though and he had a heritable tenancy from the landlord. The question arose as to what happened when parents got too old to work the croft and houses began to be removed from the croft (in law but not, of course, physically) and a new croft house built. In Eagleton (which is unusual in that it's not a crofting township but a rare township of fishermen's holdings) many of the houses no longer are owned by the person who has the tenancy of the 'croft' land. It's a minefield.

      Delete
    2. It does start to sound very complex when the houses are not tenanted by the tenants of the croft. Thank you Graham for answering my query. It is very interesting.

      Delete