This weekend we packed our camping things into my husbands van and we made a trek up to Bonny Scotland to spend the weekend with some friends at their farm.
Let me start by saying, I am NOT a camper, I’m accused regularly of being a snob. This is not the issue. It’s not like I deem myself “too good” to camp out, just that given the choice between a comfy bed with amenities in a nice hotel or a sleeping bag in what is essentially nylon ball with a door. I choose bed every time. I have to defend this preferance. ALOT.
However if I was ever to give in and take the plunge it would be to spend time with the wonderful people I did this weekend. I am so glad I did.
You may have read my blog about lambing with the Brown Family well here we are back again with them, but this time we are on their new farm in Scotland and we are shearing sheep.
The drive to Scotland was beautiful, we live in an already breath taking area but the beauty of Scotland’s landscape isn’t lost on me. It’s raw beauty is worth the drive alone, the farm is actually in the middle of no where, so like those houses on the hillside that you say,
How cool would it be to live there, no one around for miles!!!
This is exactly what the Browns new farm looks like. Driving up the long road to the farm, the van bounces along like that scene from Ace Ventura. We don’t have a comfy car with great suspension, we have a Vauxhall van with naff suspension that makes me feel like my stomach is about to come out of my mouth!!! Sorry Vinny Vauxhall but it’s true!!
The comical scene that waits me is worth the trip, Marie Brown one of my oldest and closest friends does not do anything by halfs, she says camp and she has every possible thing you could need to do it. Including twinkle lights, a must for any party in my opinion!!
There are seven adults standing over a six man tent complete with three bedrooms and a living room with a carpet. There are no instructions for said tent and only a couple of us with any clue about how a tent goes up!! Cue at least an hour of hilarity that can only be equal to that of a Three Stooges movies, up goes our home for the next two nights, with minimal input from me. I imagine many divorces are a result of putting up tents!!!
Now I know what you are thinking, you are at a farm, why don’t you sleep in the house. Well it’s been empty for a while and well …… That’s just how we roll!! Apparently ….
After a fun evening filled with a lot of beer and laughter. We retire to our tents to get some rest for the adventure ahead.
So after a some what freezing night in the tent we headed out to work, we were all supplied with coffee and bacon butties by Terry before we started!!! He is Marie’s dad and I think we all adopted him total ledgend!!!
We started my clambering to the top of a hill, jumping a stream. Anyone that knows me will confirm how unlike me this is!!! I broke two nails climbing on my hands and knees to reach the sheep, not going to lie, cried a bit at this I have been growing them for ages!! *sigh* never mind let’s move swiftly on!!
At last we reach the top the hill and Gwen the sheep dog sets off to work.
It never fails to amaze me how passionate Ian, Maries husband, is about farming. It’s a hard job that is a lifestyle, you live and breathe this life and he still has such a passion for it. It must be amusing to him us townies showing an interest in his lifestyle but we do love it. We love spending time with them.
This time of year the heat and the bugs can be a danger to the sheep, if their fleece gets too big and they get stuck on their back, they can die. So shearing is an important part of looking after the wellbeing of the sheep. It’s more than just wooly jumpers.
Ian the professional showing us how it’s done.
It’s back breaking hard work. It’s a fantastic skill to see, quickly and expertly removing the fleece it’s obvious that Ian has had many years experience. We were on hand to help …. I maybe hindered but Nikki, one of our party, was a dab hand helping to pull the sheep out and pulling them into position which is bloody hard work and some of them were as big as her!! My husband Ben also pitched in and for a city boy he did well. Between them it was a smooth assembly line.
The wool when it’s removed is rolled up and sold on but not for a great deal. There is something very pleasing about the smooth lines and the sheep shaped wool that’s removed.
Ian told me some farmers burn the wool rather than sell it in protest to the poor prices paid for the wool. I can understand it. There is a LOT of work that goes into running a farm, do we really appreciate it? Do we do enough to support our British farmers?
Me having a go. Then Ben and one of the final sheep.
Ben really got the bug and he and Nikki helped to worm some lambs too, I was amazed watching my husband who has been born and raised in the city take control of these lambs. Nikki on the other hand equally amazing at it she looked very at home in this enviroment and you can’t help admire a girl that can really kept up! No pink or blue jobs here!! Yes I realise I loose some credibility for mentioning my broken nails but it can be gurl power with awesome nails!!!
They worm the lambs every six weeks or so because of the bugs in the grass the lambs eat it keeps the insides healthy. They also are regularly sprayed with fly spray to stop them living in the wool.
This life is so different to the one so many of us live in the corporate world, dealing with targets and money and sales. Farming has its own stresses and it’s unbelievably hard work but I can’t help feeling envious of the time spent outdoors with animals.
Many hands made light work so we were able to get out and do a little touristy stuff in Ary too. Hopeful Ian was pleased with the help getting his jobs done, I don’t mean my limited efforts more the others lol!!
Our weekend was a mear glimpse into their life, but I loved it. It was helped along by great company and a lot of laughs. After the unbelievably bad start to 2016 laughs have been rare. I hope we can do it again soon.
Here are some other shots from the weekend. Xoxo