Our travels have taken us to a few countries where sheep graze along the side of the road…and maybe even on the road. However our encounters were always at a distance and from inside our car.
In Scotland, we had a few closer encounters. We found sheep openly walking on single track roads. We also found sheep grazing at many of the sites we visited. To humans, sheep are harmless. They typically ignore you and continue grazing as you pass by.
On the Isle of Skye, we visited Glenbrittle where you can hike to see a series of natural pools, aptly named the Fairy Pools. From the car park, you make your way down a lush green field towards a beautiful mountain stream. Along the way there are a number of meandering sheep that seldom make any noise.
On the way back to the car park, we heard a couple loud cries from the sheep. There was a deep lower pitch cry from one sheep and seconds later a high pitch cry would follow from a distance. As we continued on the path, we approached the sheep with the lower pitch cry. We noticed the sheep was “on guard” and intently staring across the field. We followed her gaze to see a large dog running around in the field without a leash. The closer the dog came, the more frequent her cries became. Each cry was echoed by a high pitch cry in the distance.
We continued towards the car park and saw a little sheep−a bit frantic−returning the cries from the other sheep. This little sheep was scrambling to make it down the hill to what appeared to be his/her momma. It reminded me of a child being called inside for dinner by a parent. At this point, Kevin and I stopped in our tracks watching the drama unfold and wanting to know how things would end.
As the baby sheep drew closer to the momma, it ran, almost sprinting, through a group of hikers and out into a field. It kept running until it approached a rocky river bed that stood between the momma and the baby. The little sheep hesitated for a second and then tried to leap over the river, bull fell well short into the rocks. It didn’t seem phased after the spill and got up to the opposite bank where both sheep ran off to create distance between themselves and the dog. The sheep were never threatened by any of the hikers but it was fascinating to see how they reacted to their natural predators and how it created an unexpected show for bypassing hikers.