The North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival
- conservation through restoration
The North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival is a volunteer-led, conservation event that takes place on the Island of North Ronaldsay in Orkney, Scotland, with the aim of re-building the Island's historic drystone Sheep Dyke, protecting its flock of native seaweed-eating sheep, and celebrating the island's distinct culture and tradition through music, art and education.
The festival consists of a week of drystone dyke building, workshops and activities .
- dates will be published in the New Year -
The festival consists of two SheepDyke rebuilding sessions per day (3hrs each session, excluding weekends), with a two hour lunch break for you to enjoy the island.
Workshops, talks and events will take place during lunch and evenings.
For more information of what to bring, where to stay and how to get here visit out FAQ page.
If your trip is sorted and you're ready to join us, ping us your dates here so we know to expect you.
SHEEPFEST - GET IN THE STONE ZONE
The Summer's week-long programme includes:
Two daily 3-hour sessions (with instruction and supervision) of Grade A-listed drystone SheepDyke repair
Tour of the Island's Wool Mill and Lighthouse
Workshops including felting and weaving using native wool spun on the island
An Island Dance with traditional live music from celebrated local musicians
Visitors vs Islanders football match
- and much more!
(*all activities are subject to change and weather dependent)
Where to stay...
There are several options for accommodation in North Ronaldsay, from camping to self-catering, a list of which can be found here [accommodation]. Most of our volunteers stay at the Bird Observatory, and our evenings activities usually take place there or at the Community Centre.
For those choosing to stay at the Bird Observatory (Guest House, Hostel and Camping) they have kindly blocked out the festival week for volunteer use only.
To make a booking, please email or phone (+44 01857 633 200) and make sure to mention that you are coming for the festival!
The 'SheepFest Wheels' will depart from the Bird Observatory each morning and afternoon to take volunteers to building sites. Please note if you are not staying at the Bird Observatory you will need to make your own arrangements for travel to sites (bike hire, walking or taxi).
We're always delighted to welcome people of all ages and skill sets to SheepFest, but please be aware that the stones are heavy and a lot of lifting is involved.
In 2023 we rebuilt over 250 metres in one week, and volunteers are encouraged to take part in full sessions.
Short breaks are encouraged.
We do not recommend that those under the age of 12 lift stones.
If you are under the age of 18 you will need written permission from a parent or guardian to take part.
Get in touch
Have questions? We've got answers! Get in touch below: