These last couple of weeks have, without a doubt been 2 of the busiest weeks of my life! So many different jobs done that I can’t even describe what a typical day looks like because there is no typical day. The life of an islander is wide
a varied and you have no idea what you could be doing at any given moment.
This last fortnight has consisted mostly of animal work for me, from punding; the traditional rounding up of the sheep on the shore, this year in addition to holding a couple of punds last week, we made the most of the pre-lambing punds
this week. The islanders, as well as several friends and family from mainland and further south came to the island to round up the sheep. In an amazing feat, we actually got every sheep in each section of the shore into the punds, there are usually a few (sometimes
more than a few) that outsmart us humans and evade the punds completely. I can only hope they co-operate as much when it comes time to shear them!
We took this opportunity to ‘Spring clean’ the shore, since there are so few fit an able farmers on the island the size of the flock and workload is starting to take its toll. The pregnant ewes were brought inland as usual and are all now
happily grazing away at the lush grass, but the wethers (castrated males) were sorted and the fattest were shipped off to market. A horrible but sadly necessary evil but with the nature of the North Ronaldsay sheep, these wethers have lived several years of
relative freedom before meeting their end.
In addition to sheep work, I’ve been doing my usual, helping to feed cattle – cutting open the black plastic wrap of the bales then unwrapping the netting surrounding the silage. I’ve lost count how many bales I must have opened this last
fortnight but if I said 30, I’d probably be close.
Then there’s been a bit of turbine work, only a little of that though, little bit of electrical work getting the heat pump at the lighthouse up and running.
And most recently, I’ve been taking people on tours up the lighthouse, around the wool mill, through the cottages etc. The café is open for business, feel free to pop in for some fantastic brownies and ice-cream, have a browse through the
shop for souvenirs, or check out the lighthouse exhibition. Tours of the lighthouse are run anytime; there’ll be people at the café to arrange a tour for you.