Cotton Grass and Sheep

Cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium) loves boggy areas.  Thriving in the damp windswept  coastal areas of Shetland these sedges (they aren't really grasses at all), bring extra colour to the machair that covers the headlands in early summer. 

Looking like a bag of cotton wool balls has been thrown across the landscape the white seed heads dance in the wind. A distinctive sight across the islands.

The sheep on Shetland are equally distinctive and prolific.    Roaming the cliff tops and fields they are used to the weather and the occasional sun day.  Unshawn the adults range from manicured to shaggy, their fleeces  left to shed naturally over time.  A valuable nesting material for the smaller birds and one less cost to the farmers in this remote landscape it is a sensible process.  This farming technique does however lead to some interesting styles.  Some lose their fleece over their rumps first, others end up with just a lions mane effect and a body clear of fleece.  Some develop sideburns while others just look unkempt and in need of a good hairdresser.

In contrast the lambs look tidy, their fleeces relatively clear of the vegetation and materials that the ewes fleeces seem to attract.  Their plump and well fed bodies filling their skin.  They are living life to the full, totally unaware of how special their home is and how short their lives will be....


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