As the wind howls round the barn and the rain hammers on the tin roof, the first lambs of the year have been born at Coull Farm on the Rhinns of Islay. Kept warm by a big bed of straw that is an important bi-product of the Bruichladdich barley harvest, these are pedigree Suffolks, top quality sheep owned by Andrew Jones and Jacinda Poland. Jacinda and Andrew have a small flock of pure bred animals from which they supply tups to the main flock of 700 hybrid ewes at Coull. These two black lambs are just two days old and are being kept in their own pen for a couple of days while they build up their strength.
Andrew says that he feels it is important to have home-bred tups servicing the flock as they are used to the extreme conditions prevailing here on the wild west coast of Islay.
Imported rams can find the weather too tough for them. “They tend to melt” says Andrew. “The have a tendency to hide behind a dyke at the first sign of a November wind instead of getting out there and working.”