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Sunday 1 December 2019

Farming - shipping sheep

(Vegans and vegetarians read no further!) As I have mentioned before, Graemsay is a farming island, with several farms and crofts.  Sheep and cattle are bred here (no dairy cattle) and crops grown for their feed.  At this time of year lambs born earlier in the year are shipped over to Kirkwall Auction Mart where they are sold on to farmers who will feed them through the winter to fatten them up. Then yup they go for meat, some are sold in local shops in Orkney.

So last week on a very dreich (good old Scot's word meaning dreary, bleak), chilly day a neighbour was shipping sheep onto the MV Graemsay.  They are in pens on the pier then go down a "race" (ramp) onto the back of the ferry and have a short journey across the water to be loaded onto a lorry and taken to Kirkwall.

Shipping arrangements sometimes mean alterations to our timetable.  This message on the local BBC Radio Orkney Facebook page brought a few smiles to readers....

"BBC Radio Orkney
 first, then Graemsay. On completion of loading sheep in Graemsay, the vessel will then proceed direct to Houton to discharge the sheep. On completion the vessel will sail from Houton to Stromness. Times as follows:
• 12:00 depart Stromness.
• 12:25 arrive Moaness.
• 12:40 arrive Graemsay.
• It is not possible to give times for departure Graemsay, arrival Houton, depart Houton and arrival Stromness. This will depend on how cooperative the sheep are when loading in Graemsay and discharging in Houton."

And here are a few photos of the sheep being loaded onto the MV Graemsay.  For sheep they were fairly co-operative!   On the pier being sorted.  Photo at the top of this post shows them on the back deck of the ferry.

All aboard and heading for Houton....

A view form the bridge, photo courtesy of one of the crew.


  1. Not your typical day at work, is it? I hope the sheep are good sailors.

    1. Yes so do I! I feel sorry for them as they've lived all their life on dry land (though surrounded by sea). Fortunately it's a short sea voyage for them.

  2. Thank you! And thanks for taking time to comment :-)