The Lake District, England

Cruising Northern England: The Lake District, Lakeland

In the morning we drove to the Lakeland Sheep and Wool Center. One of the guide books said that the show was boring for farm people but interesting for city dwellers. I can't imagine it being boring for any animal lover. We totally enjoyed it! There were 19 breeds of sheep in all shapes, sizes, and shades. A sheep would come through a side door, race up the ramp to it's spot, then stick it's head in the green food bowl. Each sheep knew exactly where to go and it was amusing to see it race up the ramp as the announcer told us about the breed's origins and uses.

This guy, a Texel, came on first and clearly was king of the mountain.

By the time the bottom row was called up, the sheep on top had already settled for a nap. The English Leicester and the Shetland put on quite a show, ramming each other energetically to get at each other's food. They acted like pals but smaller, feistier Shetland was getting more than his share of the food.

The sheep in front of Jacoby is really the Kerry Hill. It had very unusual markings.

After introducing the sheep, they brought on a sheep dog. He had been off to the side during the show, intent on what was happening, anxiously awaiting his turn. Because the space was limited it wasn't feasible to have him herd sheep, so the dog herded ducks instead. The announcer called out what she wanted him to do and he obeyed instantly. He was in total control, never taking his eyes off the ducks. Then there was a herd-out dog demonstration. This dog is used in Australia for working large herds. He uses a loud bark to control the sheep, and also runs over the top of the sheep to get to the other side of the herd. On stage, he jumped up and ran across the backs of the sheep on the top row. They didn't seem to notice.

Finally, they brought out a sweet-faced Jersey cow and some three day old lambs, who were making their first apearance on stage. The tiny audience (there were only about 20 in an auditorium with a capacity of 300) was invited up on the stage to bottle feed the lambs and pet the sheep and feel the different kinds of wool. Some sheep were like brillo pads and others were very soft. We loved the show. After, we got in the car and drove to Muncaster Castle to see the Owl Center.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2002 Nan Hamilton