The 150 Swaledale sheep which have over-wintered on our relatively low land (700 feet ASL) have gone back 'home'. There was a lull in the bad weather on Tuesday morning, which gave them a chance to dry out. Transporting wet sheep is a no-no as they become much too heavy and also, in close proximity to one another they begin to sweat, which is not good for their long-term health.
They were collected during the afternoon and taken back on to the 'tops' - up on the Buttertubs Pass, where the ground is steep and the hills are over a thousand feet high. In other words where these hefted sheep long to be.
Since then it has rained more or less none stop here, so I am sure it has been much worse up there in the fells. But they don't seem to mind. They were certainly getting very restless here, jumping on walls (and fetching them down), pushing through fences, trying to get out.
But of course the real reason the farmer wanted shut of them was that the grass needs to grow before the over-summering cattle come. Our neighbour has many of our fields for summer grazing for his Holstein dairy herd and our neighbour on the other side puts some of his beef heifers into some of our other fields.
The Holstein heifers who have over-wintered in our loose housing were set to go out into the fields tomorrow. They are certainly getting restless and sniffing in the air as they begin to smell that gorgeous grass. But it has been so very wet here for the past few days and it looks like they may be in for a day or two longer. I am sure they are sick of silage and want some of the real stuff inside them.
I am going to town now - my regular Friday morning routine. We were due to go out tomorrow night with friends - for dinner with mutual friends. Sadly they have both got flu, so instead our friends are coming here for a meal in the evening. We are going to have traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding - so my first job this morning is to look in various butchers for a piece of rare breed beef - hopefully Highland, as we like that the best.
For once it is not raining, but the sky is a bit threatening. Roll on the sunshine.