Confessions of a Woolling Freak

Today, I decided to visit my unfinished blogs that have been sitting in the Draft section (my arbitrary junk pile) for quite some time. There are several drafts from my trip to England that I need to complete and add to my repertoire. I especially like this blog for reasons I’m not sure of, but I just do. For 30 days in the UK, I was captivated by the sheep that were plenty and everywhere, which brings me to this blog.

During my stay in England, I had a plethora of questions concerning the beasts of the fields. Everywhere I went there were sheep grazing. I did a little research and learned that just a few years ago there was 23.1 million sheep and 55.62 million citizens in England. I am certain the numbers are much higher now and the sheep aren’t going anywhere. But it gives you a little idea of the sheepizenship there. It did not take me long to fall in love with the woolly wonders.

This photo was taken at a very old lodge I stayed in there in Wales.

Travelling around, I always found myself amazed at the sheep in the moorlands or countryside, I suppose they call those specific sheep, lowland breeds, but the ones that held my attention and left me scratching my head were the ones grazing on the steep mountainside. How did those sheep climb such dangerous and steep terrain and, how did they maintain their stability while grazing? I mean, from a distance it looks as if they have two legs shorter than the others and it made me nervous thinking they were going to fall off the side of the mountain. The photos below were taken in Wales at a hotel I stayed in, Gwesty Tynycornel . You can get an idea how steep those mountians really are.

I was also fascinated at the flock or herd of sheep (I suppose it’s a preference what you call it) that often blocked traffic in some areas. If you asked this American, she would call it a mob of wool with their own road rules perhaps having a flocking good time. But this is when patience becomes a virtue. There is no horn blowing, nor yelling at the little darlings. You just sit and wait for the sheep to get across the road. Sometimes, they hurried along, other times they stop and stare at you and they dare not be unobserved.

I confess, I rolled down my window and tried to have a conversation with a sheep in the road and it seemed by her stare that she was not best pleased by my American southern accent and her snuffling snort was proof of that matter. As I cowered back into my seat, I noticed the fluffy beast continued to stare at me until the rest of her gang came baa-ing past her not giving a second thought to my presence in their midst but simply ignoring me in their hurried task of getting to the other side. She decided to follow suit and I was thrilled she did.

However, among these woolIy wonders I took notice that many sheep had marks on their fleeces and I learned later that those painted smit marks were to identify the sheep and who they belonged to whether it be the one herding or his neighbor. Now don’t get bent out of shape thinking the farmers are using harmful paints or chemicals, it is a mixture of pigment and the grease from whale oil that helps make the mixture stick to the fleece. I enjoyed watching these beautiful creatures grazing and stopping traffic on a whim. It’s funny how they just sit there and stare at you with a quirky smile across their cute little faces, and it’s knee-slapping funny when they deposit a fresh load of sheep doo-doo still keeping eye contact as if to be offering a unique souvenir.

If you ever visit the UK you too will find yourself amazed by the nature of these adorable beasts and I bet you too will pull the car over to the side of the road to snap some photos. Of course we have sheep here in the States, but for some odd reason, you notice them more in another country as if you have never seen them before.

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