We were offered the opportunity to visit a farm in the north of the island to watch the “Singing Shepherd” Iain Thomson shearing sheep and to take photographs whilst he did so. By the time we arrived he had clipped over a hundred so was in no voice to sing! In a previous life I had a few sheep so shearing and the smell of sheep was not new to me. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to watch an expert set the sheep on its tail and get it in exactly the right position to cut the fleece away. The hallmark of a good shearer is to remove the fleece in one, remove it quickly and not cut the animals skin.
Upended and fleece coming off
The speed and flow of shearing was almost musical to watch!
When the shepherd is not shearing, tending sheep he is either fencing or singing. Fencing on this island means serious deer fencing and Iain has erected more than his fair share, including ours, over the years.
He is an accomplished singer songwriter with several professionally produced Cds. His voice has an easy listening style and his repertoire includes many well know folk songs, but for us his some of his best are the songs that he has written about the island and his life both on and off the island on a cd called Fields of Dreams. Iain also finds time to go on tour and sing at venues on the island and is much in demand. For details of the cds and song lyrics visit www.iainthomsomband.co.uk