Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs.

Rampside 1.2012003

Which I suppose is a good enough motto, unless you’re working with wet concrete. Still, last night was interesting. I’d emailed somebody with the words, “I’ll be in all evening, (unless somebody does something stupid) so could you give a ring.” Even as I pressed ‘send’ I had the feeling I was giving hostages to fortune. Then we got a phone call, somebody had been seen bundling a sheep over the church yard wall.

What had happened was that we use sheep (not my sheep, I don’t own any sheep) to keep the grass down around our isolated church. They do a good job. Now a lady was walking her dog past the church yard and saw a bunch of scruffy young men with a green van and an orange capri attempting to bundle a sheep over the wall. Not being in the first flush of youth and being custodian of a rather small dog she wisely didn’t attempt to tackle them but made for home.

Once there she walked across the road to her neighbour Martin, who is a retired minister. He picked up the phone and called me, because I’m the churchwarden and pretty much everything that happens is the responsibility of the churchwarden. So we piled in the car, shot up to the churchyard and indeed a sheep was missing. Various other people gathered and it was decided that as these aforementioned young men were apparently sleeping rough on Roa Island, my lady wife and I would drive along there and see if we could see what was happening. When we got there we found the cars (with Belgian plates) in the carpark, plus a fair number of other cars with Belgian plates. But no sign of a sheep and there were no people hanging about the two vehicles.

We discussed the matter as we headed for home and decided we’d better phone the police. In various parts of the country, sheep have been stolen and butchered on the beach for an impromptu barbeque. But how to contact the police? I could ring 101 but the last twice I’ve tried it the number just rang out. And we potentially had an animal welfare incident here, so I phoned 999. (Because there’s no other way to get hold of them).

I explained what was going on to the chap on the other end of the phone and he agreed with me that it was borderline but as I was on the phone, he’d take the details. This he did, to bleating noises being made by his colleagues in the background. Cumbria Constabulary probably have sheep as a larger part of their workload than most police forces. Indeed when I described the sheep to him he knew the breed. He promised he’d get somebody out.

So twenty minutes later we got a call from the control room to say that police had gone to Roa Island. A quarter of an hour after that, two policemen turned up in our yard. They’d ‘pursued their inquires’ there, but hadn’t been able to talk to the gentlemen in question because these individuals had got the ferry out to Piel Island to camp. As the ferry is a small open boat I agreed with the police assessment that the ferryman was unlikely to have let them take a sheep with them. Even if they’d given it dark glasses and a wig.

But as result of their discussions with the transient population of Belgians on Roa Island the Police decided that, yes, the lady had obviously seen a bunch of man who was struggling with a sheep by the wall. But all was not as it seemed.

Apparently the Scotland Rally was passing through the area. One of their night stops was Roa Island. There was a strong Belgian contingent with a lot of classic cars as part of this rally. Now during the course of this rally, there are various challenges set for the participants to attempt.

https://scotlandrally.org/sr19

 

It appears that yesterday’s challenge, whether for the entire rally, or just set by the Belgian contingent, was to get a selfie photo of you and a sheep.

Eventually the sheep turned up, she’d obviously escaped the camera toting hordes and had got into a different field and had mingled with the other sheep. Actually that doesn’t surprise me, when it comes to escaping, sheep are true professionals.

♥♥♥♥

You’ve got to be careful tacking sheep, it’s a job for skilled professionals

As a reviewer commented, “This is the third collection of farmer Jim Webster’s anecdotes about his sheep, cattle and dogs. This one had added information on the Lake District’s World Heritage status. This largely depends upon the work of around 200 small family farms. Small may not always be beautiful but it can be jolly important. If you want to know the different skills needed by a sheep dog and a cow dog, or to hear tales of some of the old time travelling sales persons – read on! This is real life, Jim, but not as I know it.”

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45 thoughts on “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs.

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 6, 2019 at 7:44 am Reply

    If the idiots writing the challenge would even ATTEMPT to think them through…

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 7:47 am Reply

      something along those lines did occur to me 🙂
      Mind you, to be honest, when the police explained what had happened I just howled with laughter

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 6, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        As long as the confused sheep was okay. Humans!

      • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm

        Yes it doesn’t seem to be any worse for the experience

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 6, 2019 at 3:36 pm

        Pragmatists, sheep.

      • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 4:04 pm

        Certainly not prone to being overly imaginative 🙂

  2. franhunne4u August 6, 2019 at 8:29 am Reply

    I suspected the worst at first – worried for the sheep. Good that it only was forced to be on a photo! Those idiots could have just taken a photo of themselves … sheep-les they were.

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 8:33 am Reply

      Yes we feared the worst, so it was actually a big relief when we discovered the truth 🙂

  3. colonialist August 6, 2019 at 8:56 am Reply

    Glad it returned sheep-shape!

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 9:13 am Reply

      Apparently no worse for it’s ordeal 🙂

  4. Sue Vincent August 6, 2019 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Sue Vincent's Daily Echo.

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm Reply

      We may not have money, but we do see life 🙂

      • Sue Vincent August 6, 2019 at 1:22 pm

        I’d rather that than too much comfort 😉

      • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 1:28 pm

        Trust me, we avoid too much comfort as well 😉

      • Sue Vincent August 6, 2019 at 4:32 pm

        😉

      • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 4:45 pm

        I appear to have turned up as ‘anonymous’ further down!

      • Sue Vincent August 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm

        I did guess it was you, Jim 😉

      • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm

        yep not sure why it happened, just technology I suppose

  5. Darlene August 6, 2019 at 12:27 pm Reply

    This is an amusing story. I no doubt there was alcohol involved! (not by you or the woman who witnessed the abduction)

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm Reply

      It is entirely possible 🙂

  6. patriciaruthsusan August 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    A tale by Jim Webster of hunting down a possible stolen sheep. Also a book by Jim at a reasonable price about his experiences with sheep, cattle, and dogs. There’s a review by a satisfied reader.

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm Reply

      There we were, looking for the one who had gone astray 🙂

  7. patriciaruthsusan August 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm Reply

    Ah, ha, ha. And it didn’t even know it was astray until you found it. 😀 — Suzanne

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 4:04 pm Reply

      Sheep have no concept of being astray. Cattle know that they’re out 🙂

  8. rugby843 August 6, 2019 at 4:52 pm Reply

    A great story. I’m glad they were only photographing the sheep!😂

    • jwebster2 August 6, 2019 at 5:20 pm Reply

      Yes we were relieved as well 🙂

  9. Widdershins August 7, 2019 at 12:06 am Reply

    The Great Churchyard Sheep Caper!!! 😀

    • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 5:36 am Reply

      It’s not that you couldn’t make it up, it’s just that you wouldn’t dare 🙂

  10. Eliza Waters August 7, 2019 at 12:50 am Reply

    All’s well that ends well! Great tale, Jim.

    • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 5:36 am Reply

      Yes, funny how life keeps happening isn’t it 🙂

  11. jenanita01 August 7, 2019 at 9:08 am Reply

    Never a dull moment when you’re around, Jim…

    • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 9:57 am Reply

      Yes my chances of a quiet life do seem to be limited 🙂

      • jenanita01 August 7, 2019 at 7:12 pm

        We do have that in common, Jim…

      • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 9:45 pm

        Indeed we do, probably something that happens to those who read a lot 😉

      • jenanita01 August 8, 2019 at 8:04 am

        Not just that, surely?

      • jwebster2 August 8, 2019 at 9:05 am

        Well I suppose it’s a way of making sure we’re not too settled and comfortable with a good book 🙂

  12. joylennick August 7, 2019 at 10:02 am Reply

    Quite a “sheepanagan” then…I might have guessed Jim Webster had something to do with it! x

    • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 10:39 am Reply

      purely as the advocate of the innocent victim 🙂

  13. willowdot21 August 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm Reply

    Fabulous story Jim I really enjoyed it. I went from intrigued, to worried to upset to annoyed at the police to pleased with the police to laughing at the true reason 💜

    • jwebster2 August 7, 2019 at 9:44 pm Reply

      I just howled with laughter when they told me what had been going on, so obviously I had to write it down 🙂

      • willowdot21 August 7, 2019 at 10:51 pm

        Yes you could not of made it up could you 💜💜💜

      • jwebster2 August 8, 2019 at 5:25 am

        I wouldn’t have dared 🙂

      • willowdot21 August 8, 2019 at 7:06 am

        No 🤣🤣

      • jwebster2 August 8, 2019 at 7:37 am

        😉

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