Friday 25 September 2009

Where does the time go?

Indeed. Where on earth does the time go........... since my last posting time has flown by and we're rapidly heading towards October, seems no time since lambing time....

A fortnight back saw a trip into Scotland for Shep and the better half, a wedding no less. Away up on the Moray Firth - to the seaside - we went. Having never travelled up the East side of Scotland before I have to say I was gob smacked, we may as well have been away down south, what tremendous ground there is up there. Most of the way up on our 8 hour journey ( I'm told it should only have taken 5, I put my hands up to poor navigational skills!) we passed combine after combine, the farmers on the East of Scotland were flat out with the harvest, Claas won the day lower down, however we soon found ourselves in John Deere territory and finally New Hollands stood their ground. I can only presume different dealerships held strong in different areas.

Now the fact that Shep is a shepherd means harvesting began to wear thin after about five hours, there were a lot of beef cattle too but sheep were few and far between, in fact they were down rightly scarce so as navigator it was decided to cut across country south of Aberdeen and head towards our weekend abode through hillier terrain ( this is where a lot of the time was lost I may add). Indeed there was some spectacular scenery but the combines still won the day, albeit older versions of what had been viewed off the main road. I was beginning to despair that Scotland didn't have a national sheep flock.

We arrived at our fisherman's cottage in Portknockie (pleasant place right on the coast) and enjoyed the sea air and scenic walks along the headland. We were re united with the Curlew and Oyster catcher which had departed our land a while back and saw zillions of seagulls, cormorants and other birdy things; also cursed not bringing the binoculars and bird book!!

The wedding was a jolly day, great weather, good food, good company and a happy bride and groom, tearful parents and all the other trimmings that go with a wedding - oh! and alot of kilts!

A day to recover followed during which we did very little other than walk the coast and savour fish and chips - not a sheep in sight! Then back home we came. The better half decided the A9 seemed a more direct route and off we trundled, cutting an hour off the journey.... we may have made it back quicker if Edinburgh hadn't got in our way at rush hour and once again poor navigational skills (personally I'm apt to blame the sign posts, or is it the new road map we'd invested in?).

So are there sheep in Scotland? A few. There were some North Country Cheviots to be seen in sparse numbers and around about Dalwhinnie there were definitely Blackies on the hills. Much of the high hill ground we passed seemed to be away to self seeded trees and was terribly rough looking giving you the impression it was not grazed. The low lying ground was beef cattle and cropping. I can't help but conclude that the potential for sheep farming is not being fully realised, all the better for the Tarset farmers who at the moment are flat out taking their stock to market.