North Ronaldsay's first ever Sheep Festival has been a resounding success, featuring a fortnight of sheepdyke re-building, punding and a plethora of activities organised and executed by Islanders and volunteers eager to feel the Island buzzing with enthusiasm once again.
Over 40 volunteers came from far and wide (including Sydney, Amsterdam and Colorado) to take part, and by the end a staggering 200 paces (metres) of sheepdyke (the equivalent of several thousands of pounds worth of re-building) was achieved.
THE EFFORT AND ENTHUSIASM of those involved surpassed all expectation, with people aged 12 to OAPs getting stuck in with 6 hours of building a day, all with a smile on their faces. The group participation was reminiscent of the community efforts of years gone by, with several Islanders offering their expertise on the best methods of re-building, and providing a unique and fascinating insight into life on the Island and their hopes for the future.
EACH DAY'S WORK was rewarded with an activity to celebrate the building success, from tours of the Lighthouse to felting workshops, beach BBQs, live music, Kids' Clubs, two Pub Quizzes, a Treasure Hunt and Traditional Folk Dance for which over 120 people arrived on the Island to take part.
THE FEEDBACK from both volunteers and Islanders has been extremely encouraging, with many asking to be informed of next year's dates as soon as possible (31st July - 11th August!). The feeling of a renewed energy has been released on the Island, with folk coming together to celebrate North Ronaldsay's unique history and heritage whilst conserving its future. The Festival Committee are buoyed by the success of this pilot year, and hope to build upon this achievement and create an even greater event for 2017.
- Thank you to the volunteers of the Sheep Festival 2016 and to the Islanders of North Ronaldsay -