Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ has been finally rescued by a team of volunteers after being left stranded on a rock for two years.
The ewe, which has now been named ‘Fiona’ has been taken to a Scottish farm park.
Heavy equipment was used to help the sheep up a slope, in what was described an ‘epic’ mission.
Posting on Facebook, The Sheep Game said: ‘We’ve named her Fiona and she’s now safe and well and heading to a well known Scottish Farm park.
It added: ‘The rescue was EPIC!’
Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ has been finally rescued after being stuck on a rock off the north east coast of Scotland for two years
The ewe, named ‘Fiona’, was rescued by a team of volunteers using heavy equipment in an ‘epic’ mission
Fiona, who spent the last two years stuck off the north east coast of Scotland, has been looked over by health inspectors, the Sun reported.
She is now being cared for at Dalscone Farm in Dumfries.
The animal was first spotted by kayaker Jillian Turner back in 2021, who returned to the same place this year to find the ewe still there.
She said she was astonished that Fiona had ‘made it through all weathers’ and seemed ‘desperate to make contact with us’ when she passed.
Her fleece had grown so long that it could hardly stand up.
Rocky conditions near Balinore also led to concerns that the sheep could not be reached by boat, with animal welfare experts warning that any rescue mission would be ‘incredibly complex’.
The rescue was led by Ayrshire farmer Cammy Wilson who was moved by pictures of the sheep standing forlornly beside the sea.
Ms Turner, of Brora, Sutherland, said she assumed it would manage to make its way up the rocky cliff. But when she returned to the remote area last month she was horrified to see the animal was still trapped and, after taking pictures to highlight its plight, she appealed for help.
Mr Wilson and his team – Graeme Parker, James Parker, Als Couzens and Ally Williamson – responded and despite the perilous terrain they were determined to free the sheep.
Thanks to the help of Cammy Wilson (left) and his team, Fiona is now in the care of Dalscone Farm in Dumfries
The rescue party decided to name the sheep after a character from the animated film Shrek who marries a princess called Fiona.
Mr Wilson explained: ‘There was a sheep called Shrek in Australia that was living in caves for years so this is the Scottish version.’
How Fiona came to be on the beach is a mystery, as local farmers do not own any sheep of the same breed.
One farmer was able to provide vital drone footage of the cliffs to allow the men to plot their rescue.
They used a winch mounted on a truck parked at the top of the cliff, 200m of rope, and a feed bag fashioned into a makeshift sling.
Two of the men worked the winch and rope while the other three made their way down the steep descent and back up with Fiona, helping to guide her up the rock face.
Fiona also played her part in the rescue. Mr Wilson explained: ‘She was so chill, it was unbelievable.
‘I was amazed by how relaxed this sheep was; no panting or panic.
‘It was almost as though she thought “Get me out of here.” It’s rare a sheep acts like that.’ He described the most nerve-wracking part as a 15m near-vertical section where they worried the bag carrying Fiona would tear.
Mr Wilson said: ‘If we lost the bag we were in a spot. We’d have been there most of the day trying to get another one or another plan. Thankfully it held and we got her past the worst bit. Then it was a steady climb while being careful.
‘In hindsight, luck was the key factor of the day. It was great to come out with no mistakes and the sheep being happy and healthy… because the stress could have killed her. Thankfully she was totally relaxed.’
The team had contacted the Scottish SPCA to monitor the rescue and check the sheep’s condition.
Fiona was first discovered in 2021 by kayaker Jillian Turner, who returned to the spot near Balinore this year to find the animal still there, with her fleece overgrown
Fiona was last night being transported to her new home some 270 miles south at Dalscone Farm animal park in Dumfries.
Mr Wilson said: ‘I’m friendly with farmer Ben Best at Dalscone and he was happy to re-home her and make her part of his unique, incredible flock of animals.’
A Scottish SPCA spokesman said: ‘A group with climbing expertise were attempting the rescue by descending down to where the sheep was trapped. This is not something our inspectorate have the equipment to do, so we were not involved in the rescue itself.
‘The team brought the ewe up and our inspector examined her.
‘Thankfully the sheep is in good condition, aside from needing to be sheared. We are delighted the sheep is safe and well, ready to start her new life.’
A Change.org petition, set up by Londoner Edoardo L’Astorina, calling for Fiona’s rescue amassed over 55,000 signatures.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk