Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pulling the Wool...

If you are allergic to sheep, Skye may be the last place you'd want to visit. They seem to be everywhere, little white slow moving blobs moving around on the side of cliffs, hills and mountains. Go for a walk and you are bound to find one, two or a whole flock.

Yet the sheep also act as a subtle reminder of the highland clearances where people were forced off the land in large numbers -2000 families in one day were not uncommon - the tenants shipped off to America, Canada or Australia to be replaced by the more profitable large intensive scale sheep farming. 

The very croft ruins that the sheep wander by and take shelter in, are a monument to the largely absentee highland lairds deciding to go with profit at the expense of the lives and culture of very own people. Sheep had a massive effect on the landscape and culture of the highlands of Scotland.

These days the sheep are part of the highland culture. Tweed, tartan scarves made of wool, blankets, sheepskin rugs are big business and popular with tourists.

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