Britain’s loneliest sheep stranded on a rocky beach for two years is finally rescued and taken to a Scottish farm park
Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ has finally been rescued by a team of volunteers after being stranded on a rocky beach for two years.
The ewe, who has been named Fiona, is now ‘safe and sound’ and has been taken to a Scottish farm park.
The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) previously said efforts to save the sheep amid the rocky conditions would be ‘incredibly complex’.
A hovercraft company had even offered to help lift the animal to dry land, fearing the rocky terrain would make it impossible to use a dinghy or boat.
Ultimately, a group of five farmers led by sheep shearer Cammy Wilson managed to get Fiona to safety using ‘heavy equipment’.
Rescuers used a winch mounted on a truck parked at the top of the cliff, 200 meters of rope and a feed bag made into a makeshift sling in what was described as an ‘epic’ mission.
Two of the men stayed at the top to operate the winch, while three others lowered 800 feet down the steep descent, where they found Fiona in a cave and led her up the cliff face.
Two of the rescuers Cammy Wilson (L) and Als Couzens are pictured with Fiona, the sheep that was rescued
Britain’s ‘loneliest sheep’ has finally been rescued after being trapped 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
Taking to Facebook, The Sheep Game said: ‘We have named her Fiona and she is now safe and sound and on her way to a well-known Scottish Farm park.’
It added: ‘The rescue was epic!’
Fiona, who has been stuck off the north-east coast of Scotland for the past two years, has been monitored 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 in 2021, who returned to the same spot this year and found the ewe still there.
She said she was amazed that Fiona had ‘made it through all the elements’ and was ‘desperate to connect with us’ when she passed away.
Her fur had grown so long that it could barely stand up.
The rescue was led by Ayrshire farmer Cammy Wilson, who was moved by photos of the sheep abandoned by the sea.
Mrs Turner, from Brora, Sutherland, said she assumed it could climb the rocky cliff. But when she returned to the remote area last month, she was shocked to see the animal still trapped. After taking photos to raise awareness of the plight, she called for help.
Mr Wilson and his team – Graeme Parker, James Parker, Als Couzens and Ally Williamson – responded and despite the dangerous terrain they were determined to free the sheep.
The rescue crew decided to name the sheep after a character from the animated film Shrek who marries a princess named Fiona.
Mr Wilson explained: ‘There was a sheep called Shrek in Australia who lived in caves for years, so this is the Scottish version.’
Thanks to the help of Cammy Wilson (R) and his team, Fiona is now in the care of Dalscone Farm in Dumfries
How Fiona ended up on the beach is a mystery, as local farmers do not own sheep of the same breed.
One farmer was able to provide crucial drone footage of the cliffs so the men could plan their rescue.
Fiona also played her part in the rescue. Mr Wilson explained: ‘She was so cold, it was unbelievable.
‘I was amazed at how relaxed this sheep was; no panting or panic.
“It was almost like she was thinking, ‘Get me out of here.’ It’s rare for a sheep to behave like this.’ He described the most nerve-wracking part as a nearly vertical 50-foot section where they feared the bag containing Fiona would tear.
Mr Wilson said: “If we lost the bag we were stuck in one spot. We would have spent most of the day there trying to figure out another plan. Luckily it held up and we helped her get over the worst of it. Then it was a steady climb, while you had to be careful.
‘In retrospect, luck was the most important factor of the day. It was great to come out with no mistakes and see the sheep happy and healthy… because the stress could have killed her. Luckily she was completely 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 site near Balinore this year to find the animal still there, with her fur overgrown.
Fiona was last night transported to her new home about 270 miles south at Dalscone Farm animal park in Dumfries.
Mr Wilson said: ‘I am friends with farmer Ben Best in Dalscone and he was pleased to be able to rehome her and make her part of his unique, incredible herd of animals.’
A Scottish SPCA spokesman said: ‘A group with climbing expertise attempted to carry out the rescue by descending to where the sheep were trapped. Because our inspection does not have the equipment here, we were not involved in the rescue itself.
“The team raised the ewe and our inspector examined her.
‘Fortunately the sheep are in good condition, except that they need to be sheared. We are glad the sheep is safe and sound and ready to start her new life.”
A Change.org petition set up by Londoner Edoardo L’Astorina calling for Fiona’s rescue gathered more than 55,000 signatures.