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Sheep inn Scotland?

My daughter and son-in-law are going to Scotland in early April. One of the things they love to do is see animals. They have been looking for a place to see sheep (lambs!) up close but have not been successful. The only thing they've found is a sheep herding demo (not what they wanted), and even that didn't start until May 1st. Does anyone know of a place?

Posted by
5654 posts

Encountering animals is often serendipity. We had an encounter with a herd of reddish shaggy Scottish cows with big horns on our West Highland walk.

If you want to walk amongst the sheep, they seem to be everywhere in northern England - Lake District, Dales, Yorkshire. I should add that we had to walk across fields with bulls.

If you check the "farm" box on the US customs form, they will pay special attention to you and even help sanitize your boots on reentry.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you MC and Edgar. I will pass this on to her. They are staying some place where they have cattle and are meeting/petting some reindeer. But they do hope to also find some place with sheep.

Posted by
3091 posts

Not meaning to be pedantic , but I really thought your post was referring to a hotel of that name , never considered it was probably a typo ! That's what I get for looking at this site pre - coffee ! Driving around England and Scotland , they won't have to look far , there seem to be more sheep than people . The one thing we did have to look for , to some degree , were " Hairy Coos " , but we did see some in Invermoriston ,near the southern end of Loch Ness and then in Blair Atholl . My wife got a great snap of one with its tongue sticking out . Don't dismiss the herding demo - if the dogs are Border Collies , they will be in for a real treat . These dogs are highly intelligent and seeing how they relate to human beings is wonderful .

Posted by
17 posts

Even the one herding demo they did see advertised didn't start until May 1st, and then after 4:00 when the regular working day was over (understandable), although driving around one could well pop up. They have actually seen a herding demo, which was very cool and indeed most impressive, but I think they want to hold a lamb/more personal. They just wanted something planned. But the one with the tongue sticking out -- adorable.

Posted by
3091 posts

I understand , sorry , I didn't pay attention to the dates . In any event , I hope they have a great time -- Scotland's beauty is incomparable , after our first trip , we couldn't wait to return , more so after our second trip --- something that touches you in a deep way !

Posted by
1829 posts

If she wants to see lambs she will have to find out when the lambing season is. Its probably sometime in the Spring although I wouldn't know for sure.

Posted by
5654 posts

Re: ... to see lambs she will have to find out when the lambing season is.

Sheep hearders don't want ewes disturbed during lambing. The Conic Hill section of the West Highland may be closed during lambing and walkers use to detour during lambing.

What about lambing on Conic Hill?

The only section of the West Highland Way which can be closed for
lambing are the enclosed fields on the east approach to Conic Hill.
During lambing time these fields can be closed to dogs. This can be
done for up to six weeks (the last three in April and the first three
in May) but normally it is only closed for four weeks and occasionally
three weeks, again around the last weeks in April and first weeks in
May. We normally receive confirmation of the exact dates in March.
This closure no longer applies to people, although we would request
that you respect the farming operations and keep to the path during
the lambing season.

Posted by
742 posts

April is the height of lambing season, in the uplands,. theres often snow showers early April, the "lambing snows"
Can be as early as Feb in the lowland

Posted by
17 posts

Well, I can certainly understand the sheep herders not wanting the ewes disturbed during lambing season. Thank you, all, for all the great information, even though it's not what I wanted to hear. Guess they need to go back another year in June. Thank you.

Posted by
2023 posts

We spent three weeks in Scotland last October and there was no shortage of sheep to be seen. The adult sheep are quite skittish and they stay on the move when people are around. Our only opportunity to pet a sheep was at a herding farm near Aviemore. The lambs were reasonably friendly and the herding farmer encouraged visitors to help with shearing--not full shearing at that time of year but a bit of clipping with hand shears.

Posted by
17 posts

Susan, that's great. They may well not be welcoming in early April, but it's worth a try. Head for Aviemore and hope for the best. Thanks.

Posted by
5559 posts

So, I've emailed a friend who keeps sheep up north--Black Isle and further up toward Caithness depending on the time of year. I've asked her when the lambing is--I think that the range is March-May, but we'll see if she let's me know. I've also asked if she knows of any places where you can get up close.

Pam

Posted by
17 posts

Pam, that's wonderful. Thank you so much. I don't think they're getting too far north. She's a teacher, and they're going on spring break, so they don't have as much time as they'd like. But one can never tell. Your friend may know of someplace they can get to.

Posted by
1829 posts

Some do. Are you a grammer expert specializing in American English grammar

Posted by
25738 posts

Every ewe is different, and ewes and lambs dislike disruption during the early days of a lamb; and the frozen wastes of Scotland are several hundred miles and several climatic zones from the warmth of the Cotswolds.

However, I rely for this season's dates on the Cotswold Farm Park http://www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk/ which is well respected and well managed - they open their gates for Lambing every year and visitors can get up close to lambs there.

In their lambing this year they are planning on starting this week and going through all of March and into the middle of April.

As said, every ewe is different but it all boils down to tupping and I expect that highland ewes will be due a couple or a few weeks later.

Posted by
5559 posts

I heard back from my friend and she confirms that lambing is mostly in April with the further north and higher up farms lambing into early May. She reminded me that there are different types of sheep. She has cheviot. She didn't have any suggestions for further south, but I did a bit more looking.

Pam

Posted by
4966 posts

The outlying islands off of the Scottish mainland (Shetland, Orkney, Skye) had tons of sheep last August (I know, not April), and we had to be careful in some open rangeland while driving, as some sheep sometimes wandered onto the road, and often lay just at the edge of the road, which at least helped define the edge of the asphalt!

Still, we didn't make any attempts to approach the sheep. And their droppings were everywhere in the grass, so if someone goes for a hike, or a walk out to a lighthouse, even if they don't see actual sheep, they'll encounter sheep dung!

Returning to the US and checking the "I/we have been on a farm/pastureland" box on the US customs form, we weren't provided a shoe sanitation, although it had been days since our boots were on pasture land, and they were packed in plastic bags in our suitcases, and customs never looked at the boots. Had we worn those boots on the plane, the floor in the isles and bathrooms might have been "contaminated," and anyone else who trod those same floors would've had their footwear similarly contaminated, so I suppose every passenger and crew member should have gone thru a decontamination as a precaution. Instead, the handles and zippers on our bags were swabbed (although our luggage never was on a farm or in a pasture), and the swabs were sent thru a screening machine. I suspect this is the test given to detect gunpowder residue, and we never encountered any terrorists, unless they were wearing really good sheep disguises :-)

Posted by
25738 posts

Much more likely scanning for drugs and money.

Posted by
1829 posts

They are more interested in preventing Mad Cow Disease (English Post Cards) from coming in.

Posted by
4966 posts

So are farms in the U.K. (or anywhere, for that matter) a hotbed of illicit drug activity? :-(

If nancycasey's kids do attend a sheep dog demonstration (with sheep), I'd imagine the farmer would be happy to let them touch a sheep if asked nicely.

Posted by
5654 posts

...And their droppings were everywhere in the grass....

Sheep farmer's (does one farm sheep or ranch sheep or just herd sheep?) have a farmijng practice of retuning nutrients to the soil by driving around the pastures with rollers to flatten and spread the sheep dropping. After the pastures ate rolled, one cannot step around a discrete sheep dropping.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/smartertravel/10-ways-to-get-flagged-at_b_3989257.html

On the customs declaration form for returning to the U.S., you'll have
to indicate whether or not you visited a farm or were in close
proximity to livestock on your trip. Check "yes," and you'll be pulled
aside for a separate screening and usually have your shoes (the ones
you wore on the farm) sprayed with a disinfectant. This is to avoid
the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, but it may cost you extra time
and make getting through customs a hassle. The upside? Sometimes the
agricultural inspection line is shorter than the general customs line,
so you may get through quickly even if you have to spend some time
getting your shoes cleaned. While this delay might cost you a bit of
time, we'd never recommend lying about where you've been on your trip.

Posted by
5559 posts

Yep, I've been pulled over and had my boots disinfected at O'Hare airport. :) It was a really big deal a few years ago when the hoof and mouth break out occurred in the UK.

It was a very sad time.

Pam

Posted by
5654 posts

Although our boots were disinfected after "checking the box", the agent didn't ask about our trekking poles and I didn't volunteer their existing in that they were somewhare in our duffle bag. I did wash the poles in England and on reaching home I did a bleach disinfecting wash.

Posted by
1288 posts

So are farms in the U.K. (or anywhere, for that matter) a hotbed of illicit drug activity? :-(

In any rural area across the world, you'd be surprised!. Though Midsomer Murders is a work of fiction.

Posted by
17 posts

Pam, thank you for the suggestions (Eastside Cottages looks delightful), and please thank your friend for me. And thank you, all, for your suggestions, education and giggles. I will pass all this along to my daughter. I do hope they are able to find some lambs so they will need to check the box. (I'm sure they will.) It does sound promising. Thank you.

Posted by
10344 posts

Re MC's post: I thought there were no more people left in Midsomer, they'd all been murdered after 15 seasons of Midsomer Murders!
:-)

Posted by
1288 posts

Kent, I think it is the house prices that does it. In Midsomer I think one can buy a large house with garden and decent parking for the price of a couple of medium sized cars, At least that is how it looks! ;-)

Posted by
4966 posts

Edgar, I propose the following verbs associated with animals:
Raising chickens, Farming salmon, Ranching cattle, and Roasting lambs . . . Yummmm!

Posted by
5654 posts

Cyn,
Americans may roast lambs but we encountered an English sheepherder in the Lake District who expressed a preference for mutton. He told my friend who commented on the cuteness of the lambs that he preferred mutton so the sheep enjoyed a few years of frolicking.

Posted by
25738 posts

Scotland is undoubtedly behind us southerners in the lambing calendar so we need to be patient up north, but you might be interested to know that I did pass in the last couple of days several fields of ewes south of Leighton Buzzard with a good crop of new lamb twins bouncing around.

Spring is coming...

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you, Nigel. That's wonderful news. What a delightful picture -- "lamb twins bouncing around." Just being able to see that would probably be enough to thrill them. A little over a month should hopefully give the north time to catch up.