‘Loneliest sheep in the world’ finally rescued after two years stranded on remote Scottish coastline

Image of Fiona the sheep.

Image of Fiona the sheep. Credit: X@ScottishSPCA

A sheep christened ‘Fiona’ has been rescued by a group of volunteers after spending around two years isolated on the north-eastern coast of Scotland.

In a complex but heartwarming rescue operation on Saturday, November 4, five caring farmers from a Facebook group called The Sheep Game managed to reach the stricken ewe and eventually take her to safety.

Jillian Turner first spotted the animal in 2021 while she was kayaking from Balintore to Nigg. When she passed through the same area this year, she saw what had to be the exact same sheep and realised that it must have somehow become stranded.

Speaking with The Sun, she said: ‘Her fleece on the first occasion was a normal year’s growth – however, on the recent trip the fleece was huge and touching the ground at the back’.

‘The poor ewe has been on her own for at least two years – for a flock animal that has to be torture. She seemed desperate to make contact with us on the two occasions we’ve gone past her’, Turner added.

What will happen to Fiona now?

In an update on Facebook, a Sheep Game member revealed that Fiona was in good condition after her rescue.

Her overgrown fleece – which had previously threatened to prevent her from walking properly – will be removed on Monday they added.

Experts from the Scottish SPCA had previously warned that any rescue attempt would prove to be extremely difficult. Their team had been monitoring Fiona’s predicament on the rocky outcrop near Balintore which was said to be inaccessible by either dinghy or boat.

‘There are several caves in that area and it is believed to be taking shelter in at least one of them, which would explain how it survived’, suggested one local boat captain.

He added: ‘It is surprising that it has survived all the climates and in that exposed place; taking refuge in a cave would explain it’.

After reading of the sheep’s plight, an Ayrshire sheep shearer named Cammy Wilson got together with fellow farmers James Parker, Ally Williamson, Graeme Parker and Als Couzens. They decided that it was down to them to organise a rescue mission.

A video posted on their Facebook page detailed the ‘epic’ work that went into rescuing Fiona.

Two of the team stayed at the top to operate a winch, while the other three three descended around 250 metres down the cliff to reach Fiona, who they eventually found inside a cave.

‘We’ve come here with heavy equipment and taken this sheep up an incredibly steep slope. It’s in incredible condition. It’s got a condition score of around 4.5. She is overweight, over fat, it was a job lifting her up that slope’, said Callum Wilson in the video footage. Fiona was checked over fully by the SPCA after her rescue.

In a tweet on X, the Scottish SPCA issued a full statement detailing the health and wellbeing of Fiona, and congratulated the team on carrying out the successful rescue of the animal.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com