Benbecula crofter's 542-mile trip to find pet lamb

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10.10.2019 10:57

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A crofter has made a 542-mile (872km) round trip to be reunited with a pet lamb she regretted selling.

Melanie MacLean, who raises sheep in Benbecula in the Western Isles, sold Norman along with other lambs at a sale last month.

She had reluctantly sold several bottle-fed orphaned lambs before, but struggled to let go of Norman.

When Mrs MacLean traced his sale to a farm in Aberdeenshire Norman ran to her from a flock of 700 other lambs.

The owner of the Suffolk sheep farm near Strichen was "gobsmacked" Norman, who carries the same ear tags as the rest of Ms MacLean's sheep, was found so quickly.

Mrs MacLean said she had also expected to spend "a few hours" shouting the lamb's name in the 75-acre (30ha) field of hundreds of other lambs.

She said: "Thirty seconds in and en route to the top end of the field I spotted one Suffolk lamb with the same button ear tags I use."

Ms MacLean put on her "pink croft hat", which she regularly wears while out on her croft, and stepped out of the farmer's pick-up truck.

She said: "I was about to shout out but this wee lamb saw me and came running like a bullet. It was Norman."

The lamb will now spend the rest of his days on the croft at Aird in Benbecula keeping his father, the croft's ram, company.

With her husband Allan, Mrs MacLean has 20 ewes, a handful of cows and chickens on the small croft.

Tame or "pet" lambs are usually lambs that have either been orphaned, rejected by their mothers or need extra help feeding and are bottle-fed.

Norman was one of a set of triplets born of one of the MacLeans' ewes.

Mrs MacLean said: "Norman had a very poor start as a weak lamb so I was with him round the clock for the first 48 hours.

"Once recovered he proved to be such a happy little lamb who enjoyed affection at every opportunity which I gave it to him in abundance, much to my better judgement as I knew in my head we don't keep the boys.

"I can't put my finger on it but he was just special to me and I couldn't help myself and indulged him."

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