I've become a bit obsessed with sheep lately. Some of you may be less then shocked by this pronouncement, but I'm talking about wool on the hoof, not in the skein. So on our recent trip to the northern portions of England, I found myself taking far too many pictures of sweaters-to-be in their natural environment. This tendency was vastly enhanced by the fact that in Yorkshire, there are just a few sheep to be ogled.
There were sheep on the way to the Reeth Agricultural Show,
Not to mention, a few sheep at the show itself.
A highly groomed Teeswater (I think)
a spectacular Jacob ram
Hampshire Down, aka the Teddy Bear Sheep
A genteel sufficiency of sheep, to say the least. Then there were the fleeces,
and strange creatures made out of a variety of vegetables and Haribos.
We moved on to Northumbria, where there were more sheep, this time amongst the ruins of a Roman fort.
But things really got serious when we got to the Lake District, because not only were there sheep,
there were sheep that are different colors depending on their age.
These are Herdwicks, the sheep that children's author Beatrix Potter was instrumental in preserving when she donated 4000 acres of land to the National Trust.
Herdwicks are born black, lighten to a lovely chocolate brown over the course of the first year, and finally end up white as adults. I was smitten. So was the Wee Ridiculous Dog, who happily chased sheep whenever he got the opportunity.
Thankfully he's not too threatening, and the sheep were none too spooked. They mostly ran twenty feet away and went back to grazing. These sheep have been bred to be territorial, so they don't leave their designated pasture area. Which explains why there are vast herds of sheep wandering freely on the fells of Cumbria with no fences or enclosures of any kind, except for an occasional stone sheep pen.
It's a magical place, to be sure. Somehow I made it home with out any fleece or wool products of any kind, which has got to be some kind of miracle.