Hill Farming

Lamb and Blackberry

If you walk in the hills much in Wales you will occasionally encounter a strange, unpleasant smell.  Your impulse, honed over myriad generations, will be to head in the opposite direction because it is the smell of death.  If you are inquisitive you may poke around with a stick while holding your breath and you will find the decaying flesh hanging from the still-articulated skeleton — there will be lots of interesting insects and if you look carefully, with your CSI hat on, you might notice the brambles wound around the body.

You see, brambles grab sheep — they wrap them in their tentacles and the more the sheep thrashes and twists the firmer it is held — it does not last long.

Sometimes they escape

Sometimes they escape

Don’t fret — most places are so thoroughly grazed that the blackberries never get a hold — it’s when the sheep sneak into places they are not allowed that the trouble starts — when they get into woods where they are not supposed to go.


Here’s Gladys (you remember Gladys — the floppy, pig-mouthed ewe lamb with teddy-bear ears who wasn’t prepared to die as everyone knew she should). She is still testing the limits of survival.  Her baaing has dragged us out of bed — she and her friend are stuck — doesn’t look impressive because they have already eaten all the leaves and the thorny twine that binds them is embedded in their thick fleeces but they cannot get away and have to be cut free and the prickly problem painstakingly unravelled with much kicking and wriggling — thank goodness they are not fully grown!