‘Britain’s loneliest sheep’ rescued after being stranded on cliff for two years

The ewe once dubbed ‘Britain’s loneliest sheep’ is healthy and is lonely no more after being rescued by five farmers

A lonely ewe that was stranded on the foot of some cliffs in the Scottish Highlands for at least two years has finally been rescued.

The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) previously described any attempts to save the sheep in Cromarty Firth as “incredibly complex”.

A hovercraft company had even offered to help ferry the animal, dubbed “Britain’s loneliest sheep”, due to concerns that rocky terrain on the shore would make it impossible to use a dinghy or boat.

In the end, a group of five farmers managed to haul her up a steep slope to safety, and have since named her “Fiona”.

In a video on social media, Ali Williamson said he and his team used “heavy equipment” to get Fiona up an “incredible slope”.

He added: “She is incredibly fettle. The SSPCA are here, she’s had a full check-over. She is about a condition score of about 4.5, she is overfat – it was some job lifting her up that slope.

“She is going to a very special place that a lot of you know very well, where you’ll be able to see her virtually every day.”

“Britain’s loneliest sheep is lonely no more,” Mr Williamson added. Rescuers said Fiona would be taken to a Scottish farm park.

Fiona was first spotted by kayaker Jill Turner along the Moray Firth’s east Highland coast two years ago, and then again this year.

The SSPCA said it was aware of the ewe’s situation but initially decided not to attempt a rescue as it had plenty of food and water.

However, a petition calling on the animal charity to take action which fetched over 55,000 signatures prompted a change in stance.

Earlier this week the SSPCA said it would attempt to rescue Fiona, with the charity’s chief superintendent Mike Flynn warning: “The area where the sheep is stranded is very inaccessible by both land and sea, making this rescue incredibly complex, especially due to the logistics of rescuing a large animal.”

The petition said that sheep “are very sociable and intelligent creatures” which “thrive in the companionship of their flock”, adding that they “can suffer a lot when they are isolated”.

Responding to Saturday’s successful rescue, an SSPCA spokesperson said: “This morning the Scottish SPCA were in attendance at the hillside after they were made aware that a group of individuals with climbing expertise were attempting to rescue the stranded sheep by descending down to where she was trapped.