New Arrivals 2

I started supplementing my flock tonight, getting ready for next years lambing before this year’s lambs have left. The lambs leave 2 weeks Friday but I got 5 ewes from an old school friend, Ally Williamson, tonight.


Ally was more than willing to pose for a picture for the blog – although I’m under strict instructions to spell his name correctly (not Ali) and make it clear they are Bragar sheep, even though we collected them from a Bru croft!

Anyway, I took the ewes home, two 2 year olds, one 3 and two 4. I gave them a quick squirt of wormer, before they went onto the lush grass of North Dell


Beast of a trailer, isn’t it? Built by my uncle many years ago, needs a lick of paint this winter!


Quick squirt in the mouth….


Before threatening to give my brother Innes a squirt too! Thanks to him for the pictures.

I had to rush off tomplay 5-a-side football so I have put the sheep infront of my house for the time being, I’ll move them in with the rest tomorrow. That’s all the ewes I want to buy, just a few ewe lambs and a ram now. Plus sell my own rams!

New Arrivals 1

I got a phone call on Saturday from a guy in the village saying that there were 4 hens free to a good home at someone else in the village. They’d got them a year ago but were getting fed up of them so I stepped in and took them off their hands!


Four 13-month old hens, still laying. Not too shabby!


Seeing as it was only half a mile away, I just put them in the back of the van.


Although that led to it’s own problems when it came to the other end! I’m sure they’ll settle in well though.

Minke Whale on Port of Ness Beach

A dead Minke Whale was washed up on Port Beach today. It looks like it was washed up at high tide early this morning, as it wasn’t there yesterday.

I became aware of it around lunchtime today, when I saw this picture posted on facebook.


As you can see, there is a large growth ballooning out of it’s mouth. There was some discussion about what exactly it was but it appears that it’s either its tongue or, less likely, its stomach, which have swollen as part of the decomposition process.

As soon as I got home from work, I grabbed my camera and went straight down.


You can see the whale on the far left of the beach, beside the rocks.







There was a crowd of around 20 or so people down while I was there



Some media were there too. Mike Skelly, STV cameraman, on the right, and Murdo Maclean STV/Heb News.

There were several people there from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR)there too. They had written something in the sand warning people to stay away because it was toxic etc but no-one was paying much attention and had walked through it dozens of times!

They took some details of the whale, including measuring it’s length while I was there.


The whale was measured at 24 feet. There was some talk earlier in the day that it may be the same whale that was trapped in Leverburgh earlier this month but the BDMLR folk confirmed that it definitely wasn’t, as the Leverburgh one was a juvenile and only around 15 feet long.

There appears to be some uncertainty over how it will be disposed of. One of the BDMLR women said their preferred choice would be to get it ashore and into a landfill. Port is inaccessible for any vehicles attempting to reach it from land so they are talking about getting a boat to tow the carcass either out to sea to be dumped or onto the slipway about half a mile away just within the harbour breakwater. I asked if they’d consider blowing it up but that’s the last resort – disappointing! ūüôā

I’ll leave you with a few other pictures I took around Port while I was there. The wee bird is one of my favourites, a sandpiper.









The latest batch of Gloucester Old Spot pigs arrived in mid-June of this year and have come along quite nicely. They should be ready for slaughter by the end of October. We usually have them on my croft but it was decided to have them on someone else’s croft this year, so that meant a new pen. Unfortunately, this pen hasn’t proven as stock-proof as mine! (mine was the same at first, pigs are intelligent and always find ways of breaking out).


There are 4 of them and they’ve grown quite a lot in the 2 months we’ve had them



They’re inquisitive animals but they settle down once they get some food.

They’ve been getting out quite a lot recently. Below is a picture of them coming back when I called them, they were out at Cross School, which is over half a mile away from where they should have been!


So we’ve been trying to patch up the bottom of the fence to keep them in.


This seems to have done the trick. The pigs stick their snouts under the fence, lift it up slightly and make their break for freedom! Barbed wire is usually a deterrent around the bottom but hasn’t been as successful this year.

The pigs themselves really churn up the ground, as can be seen here


So hopefully the drama of the escaping pigs is over and we can concentrate on making sausages!

Ram Lamb For Sale

I have one ram lamb for sale this year. Every lamb off his father has sold for ¬£50+ over the last 2 years (I haven’t checked from before that) and his mother is of pedigree stock. I am looking for ¬£100 for him. You can contact me via phone/email/facebook/twitter or you can even come and speak to me! I also have 2/3 shearling rams to sell too.



Lamb Sale

All is arranged for is year’s sales. The lambs were lifted from their mothers earlier this week and now I’ve been given a date of 14th September for the lorry coming to collect them and take them to Thainstone. Apart from selling a few eggs at ¬£1 per dozen, the lambs are the only income I make from the croft.

No crop this year.

I blogged earlier this year about my vegetable plot. I spent hours, days and weeks ploughing, rotovating, putting up fences and shelter, as well as planting only for things to go a little wrong while I was away filming. After one of my first trips in June, I came home to find some of my sheep had got into the vegetable plot and eaten every single last one of one of the seedlings that I’d planted. Not one left! All my broccoli, sprouts, onions, lettuce, carrots gone. More than slightly frustrated. Next year, I am not leaving a gate on my veg plot, I will close it off completely, easy for me to hop the corrugated iron shelter anyway.

To top it all off, my potatoe plot was pillaged last week by the rampaging piglets! We’d lifted the earlies already but the main crop has gone completely. I was away filming at the Scottish National Sheepdog Trial from Wednesday till Monday and came back to stalks stripped of all leaves and the ground churned up and potatoes eaten. I will blog again about the pigs but next year the vegetables and potatoes will be protected like Fort Knox!

Lamb Lifting 2012



So last night was an important step in the year of the lamb, separating them from their mothers.  Done around this time of year as the lambs are ready to be weaned, the sheep are usually fed up of them and the sheep also need time to recover before going back to the ram in October.

There are several options open to crofters in the islands for selling their lambs.  There is the auction mart in Stornoway, where buyers come from the mainland, Lewis Livestock, where lambs are collected from different villages and then transported to Dingwall for sale, and the option which I have taken for the last few years, send them to Thainstone in Aberdeenshire.  I have got pretty good prices there so happy to continue to use them.

So we gathered all the sheep & lambs, decided which to keep for ourselves, which lambs to sell and which ewes would have to go.

Here are the ewes penned, with my father fighting off the midges.  The lambs are in the background, having been removed.


Here are the lambs that we are selling (plus 3 cast ewes)





And here are some of the ones we are keeping.  3 ewe lambs (I plan on buying some more), one ram lamb and the rest for the freezer.


It had been a wet day but very warm and sticky, so I didn’t want to wear waterproofs. ¬†I ended up covered in midge bites, soaked all the¬†way up inside my legs and my top covered in lamb poo and paint!




Of course, all of this was done under the strict supervision of the boss!

The lambs will stay on the croft until Friday 14th September, for the sale on 19th. ¬†I have my fingers crossed for a ¬£50 average. ¬†I’d be very happy with that.