May Isle

Sketch from my first visit today to the Isle of May. These are the cliffs on the west side of the island. I’ll get to the puffins next time !! Maybe…….

Last visit.

My last visit to the farm. Spring is in the air but for the coolness of an easterly wind that brought April snow.

There is an air of calm in the lambing sheds – ewes in pens with their new born lambs. Quiet, an occasional bleat, the cooing of pigeons in the rafters. The light is dim here, shafts of sunlight stream through the roof lights on the straw covered floor. Alistair and Craig are busy on their rounds, feeding and checking on the still pregnant ewes. They go in for their breakfast. In the byre week old calves wobble, pink wet noses and long eyelashes.

Nell the sheepdog is in her run, desperate to be be doing her job, confined to barracks. Numbered, iodined, sleeping, bleating, suckling, tails shuggling, heads bumping, falling over, soon to be out in the field lambs.

This feels like a good time to finish, at the start and just before I leave I watch a ewe give birth – the lamb silent and stunned, picked up and swung by its back legs through the air and is rubbed with straw into life. It bleats.

Thank you to Ian and Carole and everyone at Balmonth for their kindness. I have had a wonderful time at the farm up the hill and I am looking forward to seeing how the book will look in a couple of months time.