Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Getting ready for tupping

Farmer is beginning to get ready for the start of the new sheep farming year.   The tups will go out in 10 days time but before then, he needs to get all the sheep gathered off the hill.  Yesterday he went off to do the 'back gather'.  I don't know if this is his phrase or whether all hill farmers use it too, but it means he takes the dogs and goes out towards the old schoolhouse at Reudle and brings in the ewes that live on that part of the hill.  This makes for a much easier 'main gather' the following day.  He was slightly disappointed, today, then, to see 4 ewes still out on the bit of hill he had back gathered yesterday.  This means he will need to go and see if he can get them in tomorrow.   As we 'tup in' (as opposed to out on the hill), if he doesn't bring those ewes in they won't get in lamb!

Visitors in Shian and Duill this week are certainly enjoying the weather - whatever it is like, from the shelter of their sunrooms.  Leena and I went round the cottages last week to see what work we needed to do over the winter.  It was lovely sitting in Shian sunroom in a gale watching the storm.

Amazing to think this little birch tree was almost dead a few years ago.  Its central trunk and branches were bare, browsed heavily by sheep and deer.  Since we fenced this little area off, it has started regenerating again from the bottom.

I went to Tobermory on Sunday afternoon to the launch of Carla Lamont's book 'Ninth Wave: love and food on the Isle of Mull'.

It was a glorious day and whilst I was sad not to be out walking on Treshnish, it was quite a treat to drive to Tobermory in the lovely November light.

Tobermory bay was still and creamy.  Hardly any movement anywhere. By the time I started to go home the mist was rising over the Mishnish lochs in a beautifully moody way.  Swans dipped their bodies in the water like upturned boats at the far side of the loch, and ravens croaked on the silence.

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