This is sheep country. And I love it. Love being surrounded by white woolly creatures. And black ones. And brown ones.
Some of my fondest memories of Dixon Hill revolve around sheep. Like nursing a tiny, sick lamb in front of the Aga on the day of a big family gathering (the visiting children thought the lamb had been laid on just for them and were enthralled!). Or bottle feeding three big, boisterous lambs, who would sneak out of their field when peckish and hurl themselves at the back door, all but breaking it down. Or standing in the road, halting the traffic (oh, the power!), whilst helping to move a flock to fresh grazing. Or simply sitting watching a few quiet creatures chew the cud whenever I’ve needed to regain perspective.
Wherever you stand on the hillside here, you can see sheep. They’re scattered across the fields and the fells. They endure the Pennine weather and survive on barren uplands that won’t support crops. The year cycles round with the ways of the shepherd: first tupping, then lambing, then clipping.
When we lived in the States, sheep were high on the list of things I most missed. Very high. I missed hearing the bleats and the baas. And nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than watching a gang of lambs play tag on a balmy spring evening.
So….sheep. Quite possibly my favourite feature of the landscape.