The five men who rescued Fiona, Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’
Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ has been rescued after being stranded at the foot of a remote cliff in the Scottish Highlands for two years.
A group of five men managed to haul the ew, who they’ve named Fiona, up a steep slope in what they called a’major operation’.
In a video posted on Facebook, they said Fiona had been checked over by the Scottish SPCA and was in an ‘incredible fettle’, adding ‘Britain’s loneliest sheep is lonely no more’.
Describing the rescue, they added: ‘She’s over fat and it was some job lifting her up that slope’ and said ‘heavy equipment’ was needed.
Fiona being transported to Dalscone Farm after the rescue (Picture: X/@ScottishSPCA)
She is now going to be looked after by Dalscone Farm, in Dumfries, a farm park open to the public during the warmer months, and will be sheared of her heavy coat.
The rescue mission was organised by Cammy Wilson, a sheep shearer from Ayrshire, after seeing media coverage of the ewe’s plight.
Mr Wilson is also a presenter on the BBC’s Landward programme, where the full story will be broadcast on November 16.
A petition calling for the sheep’s rescue gathered more than 55,000 signatures, after Jill Turner highlighted its plight.
She had first spotted the ewe at Cromarty Firth two years ago during a kayak trip from Balintore to Nigg and then again on a recent trip.
Ms Turner, from Brora in Sutherland, was delighted to hear Fiona had been rescued.
She said: ‘I am very emotional as it’s been a very stressful time.
The ewe at Dalscone Farm, where it will be sheared (Picture: Michael Mccarthymet)
‘Someone I’ve been communicating with in the Lake District, who has been a great help, responded to my message querying ‘any positive updates’ – she sent me the clip (of the rescued ewe)! I gave such a shriek and gave my husband a fright!’
Recalling the first time she saw the sheep, Ms Turner said: ‘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.’
Ms Turner did not think too much about it at that point, assuming the sheep would manage to make her way up the rocky face.
The sheep stranded in the Scottish Highlands (Picture: Peter Jolly/Northpix)
She was horrified, however, to see it still there two years later.
A Scottish SPCA spokesperson said it was not involved in the actual rescue as the organisation does not have the relevant experience or training, but attended to ensure the welfare of the animal.
They added: ‘The team brought the ewe up successfully and our Inspector examined her. Thankfully the sheep is in good bodily condition, aside from needing to be sheared.
‘She will now be taken to a specialist home within Scotland to rest and recover.
‘We are delighted that the sheep, who the rescue group have named Fiona is safe and well, ready to start her new life.
A kayaker at the rocky shoreline where a sheep has been stranded for two years (Picture: Peter Jolly/Northpix)
They emphasised the fact the team were experienced climbers with specialist equipment and urged the public not to attempt a rescue that may endanger themselves or an animal.
After the rescue, a group of animal rights campaigners claimed the five men had highjacked the rescue from them.
Animal Rising – who disrupted the Grand National – said they had spent days training for a rescue mission and had even descended the steep cliff to build a relationship with the ewe.
They say they were fleeced by, unknown to them, a rival ‘covert operation’.
The sheep was unable to get back up the steep slope alone (Picture: Peter Jolly/Northpix)
Now they have launched a petition to stop the animal remaining at Dalscone Farm, which they describe as a ‘petting zoo’ and a stressful place for the sheep to live.
They say had intended to take Fiona to Tribe Animal Sanctuary near Glasgow.
Today Dalscone Farm posted a Facebook video claiming protesters have turned shouting Free Fiona.
He insisted Dalscone would not be a stressful place for the ewe, and that she would have five months to acclimatise and get to know other sheep before the farm opened again to the public.
Fiona the sheep is in ‘incredible fettle’ said the rescuers and has a new home.