Highlights from the first ever
North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival
"The success of the first ever North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival could not have been achieved without the help of our formidable band of volunteers, and the team at the Bird Observatory.
A huge thank you to all who took part."
- Kate Traill Price
Jim from Thealby, North Lincolnshire
This man can lift serious stone, run marathons - early risers could watch in awe at his morning Lighthouse runs - and has identified the perfect patch on his leg for a sheepdyke tattoo!
(Big shout out to Sharon - Jim's wife/PA - who booked his entire trip!)
Claire didn't just bring a bucketload of enthusiasm and hard graft to the Festival - she brought her ukulele too!
There aren't many who can get an entire bar singing 'Valerie' with harmonies, compose an 'Ode to North Ronaldsay' and conduct a radio interview on BBC Scotland all in one day. Claire can!
Claire from Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Arthur from Streatham, London
30 hrs of dyke building weren't enough for Arthur, who set off the morning after the Dance (when most were nursing sore heads) to complete a section of wall that wasn't quite finished.
Ever the perfectionist, he also invented the 'NR Whisky Mac' when the evening's bar ran dry of tonic water... though popular opinion agreed that his skills lie in walling rather than mixology!
Leaving most of us exhausted just by watching him, there wasn't an activity that Jon didn't embrace - from creel fishing to punding to making his own felt crafts -
he took to the Island like a sheep to seaweed ;)
He's already vowed to come back next year.
Jon - it wouldn't be the same without you!
Jonathan from Blyth, Northumberland
Jed from Kingston, London
Jed is about to gain a qualification in drystone walling, so the Sheep Festival was the perfect place for him to hone his skills, especially since North Ronaldsay dyke is rather unique in its assembly!
Besides the hard graft he put in, Jed spent his downtime identifying the Island's flora and avifauna - and educating the rest of us in the process!
Dave's attention to detail was admirable (his coping - the line of vertical stones placed along the top of the dyke - was so perfect it earnt the nickname 'showboating' by jealous fellow builders!)
He was with us the longest of all our volunteers and left with new-found sheep shearing skills and the steps to several Scottish reels - his 'Strip the Willow' proving particularly impressive.
David from Epping, Essex
Jo from Helmingham, Suffolk
Despite suffering our first 'stone vs thumb' injury of the fortnight, Jo's strength and perseverence shone through and impressed all.
Always ready with a smile and the perfect stone, Jo threw herself into the Festival, tackling one of the harder sections the group encountered with gusto (a vertical slope above the sea, below)
Robin from Brockworth, Gloucestershire
Robin's approach to the fallen sheepdyke was calm and considered - when others were piling on stone at speed, he would take the time to assess the needs of each indiviudal section and choose flagstones accordingly - a method that ensured strength and stability in the sheepdyke.
Hayley and Ronan from Kirkwall, Orkney
Hayley's grandmother lived on North Ronaldsay while Ronan himself grew up here before moving to the Mainland.
Both travel back several times during the year to help with punding and maintain family houses.
Hayley and her boyfriend Gordon made a formidable building team, while Ronan (14) and his sister Lilly (12) followed in their ancestors' footsteps and re-built an impressive amount of sheepdyke.
As a group leader for the Kent Wildlife Trust, Nigel is big on conservation and wildlife... and travel (he and his wife Tish visited the Festival during a three-month island hop of the Orkney Islands).
Never afraid to wield a pickaxe, Nigel's attention to the foundations of sheepdyke needing to be re-built from scratch meant the rest of us could build it up safe in the knoweldge that it was rock-steady.
Nigel from Kent
John from London
Having grown up on North Ronaldsay, John is passionate about seeing the Island's future secured for generations to come.
As well as spending his visit home building with the Festival (which harked back to his childhood days of helping his parents manage fallen sheepdyke) John is an active member of the North Ronaldsay Trust, leading regeneration projects and potential funding plans.