Sheep Festival returns for 2017

The second North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival will be held this summer, celebrating the iconic seaweed-eating sheep of the island.

How do you fancy a holiday with a difference this year?

And we don’t just mean a city break instead of the beach, or a villa instead of an all-inclusive deal!

No, this is something completely different, but equally something incredibly rewarding.

The second North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival will be held in Orkney’s furthest flung community this summer, all aimed at celebrating the unique breed of seaweed-eating sheep that make the island their home.

Part of North Ronaldsay's seaweed-eating sheep flock

The event was launched in 2016 to raise awareness of the ancient breed of shoreline dwelling sheep and to give those taking part the chance to learn some practical skills linked with managing the 3,000 strong flock. It was hailed as a great success by those who travelled north.

Of course, the stunning scenery and warm island hospitality were excellent selling points too!

The view from the top of the island's lighthouse - image by Paul Tomkins

The 2017 version will run between the 31st of July and the 11th of August and the event has just secured more than £6,600 worth of funding from the Awards for All scheme. It means that more activities can be carried out, including the chance to teach and expand on traditional dry stone walling skills and to help repair more sections of the all-important sheep dyke the surrounds the island.

It’s not all hard work though – the funding will also be used to host activities including dances, tours of the lighthouse and spinning and felting workshops.

It’s a truly unique event that gives participants the chance to experience something special and become part of life in a small community, if only for a few days.

Seals and sheep share the shoreline, and the island is a haven for birdlife too - image by Paul Tomkins

Applications for limited subsidised places at the Festival will open shortly. You can keep up to date via the official Sheep Festival website. Find out more about the island with Visit Orkney and Newsletter

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