Swaledale sheep, Bilsdale

At least I think these are Black Faced sheep, one of the traditional breeds of the Northern hills. Other contenders could be Swaledales and Rough Fells. Quite frankly after looking at scores of photos on Google they all begin to look the same. All three are found on the North York Moors and all are said to be descended from a small flock that was on board a fleeing Spanish vessel of the Armada that was shipwrecked off the Cumberland coast. Which begs the question as to what breed of sheep were the medieval monks of Rievaulx Abbey farming.

One local name for Black Faced sheep is Moorjocks which is also used as a derogatory name for dales folk.

On some grouse moors sheep are used as tick mops to control ticks which weaken young grouse chicks. The sheep would be dipped up to 5 times per year to kill off the ticks and then released again to collect more ticks.


These sheep hiding behind a dry stone wall are on Carr Ridge overlooking Bilsdale.


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