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The personal views of a Catholic parish organist



December 10, 2012

The seaweed-eating sheep of North Ronaldsay!

evelyn @ 4:30 pm

When asked what he wanted for Christmas, my husband said, ‘North Ronaldsay lamb’.

During our Orkney visit in September, we had made the journey to North Ronaldsay, the most northerly island of the archipelago. We went by plane. What a contrast to our last plane journey from Australia! The flight from Kirkwall Airport to North Ronaldsay took 18 minutes in the tiny inter-island plane. It seated 8 (I think), and we were all squashed together – no aisle, no room to move.

 

 

I was right behind the driver (sorry, pilot) on the outward journey, and had a wonderful view of the different islands as we passed over them on a lovely sunny day.

 

The airport on North Ronaldsay was a field, and the airport staff one lady who let us out through a five-barred gate. We found a driver prepared to show us the island, and finally came face-to-face with North Ronaldsay’s famous seaweed-eating sheep.

Orkney is full of sheep, but these are really special. As you can see, they are physically different from normal sheep.  They live on the shore – there are walls to keep them out of the fields – and eat nothing but seaweed. Their meat is considered by many to be a great delicacy. My husband was immediately interested. He loves trying unusual food native to the places we visit; in France he once – but only once! – presented me with snails and frogs’ legs to cook and serve.

So I have now done what I can about his Christmas request, and found a helpful Kirkwall butcher, kindly recommended by Bruce who sometimes comments on this blog. And we will have North Ronaldsay mutton (probably, as the lamb is seasonal) for our Christmas dinner. Who needs turkeys?

5 Comments »

  1. You’ll enjoy North Ronaldsay lamb and mutton, a very distinctive taste. Hope you can manage to visit Stronsay on your next journey northwards.

    Comment by Bruce Fletcher — December 16, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  2. Hurrah! I’ve been looking forward to seeing those sheep. I have no idea whether I’d want to eat one. But at least there’s an environmentally friendly way to get rid of an excess of seaweed! (besides putting it in my salad)

    Comment by Michael — December 19, 2012 @ 4:07 am

  3. I wonder if the lamb will taste like that reared on the tidal flats near Mont St. Michel? There is a French name for it but like President Reagan, I don’t recall.

    Comment by Anne Armstrong — December 20, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  4. […] my 18-minute flight to North Ronaldsay to see the sheep? And the tiny little eight-seater […]

    Pingback by Forth In Praise - Liturgy Commission Music - Organists' Blog — May 26, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

  5. […] my 18-minute flight to North Ronaldsay to see the sheep? And the tiny little eight-seater […]

    Pingback by Orkney pilot | Forth in Praise — July 27, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

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