Britain's loneliest sheep finally rescued
Britain's 'loneliest sheep' has finally been rescued by a team of volunteers after being left stranded on a rocky beach for two years.
The ewe, which has been named Fiona, is now 'safe and well' and has been taken to a Scottish farm park.
The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) previously said that attempts 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 due to concerns that the rocky terrain would make it impossible to use a dinghy or boat.
In the end, a group of five farmers- led by sheep shearer Cammy Wilson - were able to haul Fiona up a steep slope to safety using 'heavy equipment'.
Rescuers used a winch mounted on a truck parked at the top of the cliff, 200m of rope and a feed bag fashioned 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 were lowered 250m down the steep descent where they found Fiona in a cave and guided her up the rock face.
Posting on Facebook, The Sheep Game said: 'We've named her Fiona and she's now safe and well and heading to a well known Scottish Farm park.'
It added: 'The rescue was epic!'
Fiona, who spent the last two years stuck off the north east coast of Scotland, has been looked over 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 back in 2021, who returned to the same place this year to find the ewe still there.
She said she was astonished that Fiona had 'made it through all weathers' and seemed 'desperate to make contact with us' when she passed.
Her fleece had grown so long that it could hardly stand up.
The rescue was led by Ayrshire farmer Cammy Wilson who was moved by pictures of the sheep standing forlornly beside the sea.
Ms Turner, of Brora, Sutherland, said she assumed it would manage to make its way up the rocky cliff. But when she returned to the remote area last month she was horrified to see the animal was still trapped and, after taking pictures to highlight its plight, she appealed for help.
Mr Wilson and his team – Graeme Parker, James Parker, Als Couzens and Ally Williamson – responded and despite the perilous terrain they were determined to free the sheep.
The rescue party decided to name the sheep after a character from the animated film Shrek who marries a princess called Fiona.
Mr Wilson explained: 'There was a sheep called Shrek in Australia that was living in caves for years so this is the Scottish version.'
How Fiona came to be on the beach is a mystery, as local farmers do not own any sheep of the same breed.
One farmer was able to provide vital drone footage of the cliffs to allow the men to plot their rescue.
Fiona also played her part in the rescue. Mr Wilson explained: 'She was so chill, it was unbelievable.
'I was amazed by how relaxed this sheep was; no panting or panic.
'It was almost as though she thought 'Get me out of here.' It's rare a sheep acts like that.' He described the most nerve-wracking part as a 15m near-vertical section where they worried the bag carrying Fiona would tear.
Mr Wilson said: 'If we lost the bag we were in a spot. We'd have been there most of the day trying to get another one or another plan. Thankfully it held and we got her past the worst bit. Then it was a steady climb while being careful.
'In hindsight, luck was the key factor of the day. It was great to come out with no mistakes and the sheep being happy and healthy... because the stress could have killed her. Thankfully she was totally relaxed.'
The team had contacted the Scottish SPCA to monitor the rescue and check the sheep's condition.