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Online showing success for Hannah Sinclair and Truffles


By Jean Gunn

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Hannah Sinclair (15) with her small flock of Oxford Downs. Truffles, the prize-winning ewe lamb in the July online sheep show, is front right. Picture: Willie Mackay
Hannah Sinclair (15) with her small flock of Oxford Downs. Truffles, the prize-winning ewe lamb in the July online sheep show, is front right. Picture: Willie Mackay

The arrival of rare Oxford Down lambs in Caithness has already proved to be a success for young Hannah Sinclair, of Latheron, who took second prize in a national online sheep show.

Fifteen-year-old Hannah said: "It was just for a bit of fun – I was not really expecting anything."

Last week she sent in a photo of her ewe lamb, Truffles, to the Oxford Down online sheep competition and was runner-up in a strong class with entries from all over the UK.

The Wick High School pupil, who will be going into fourth year after the holidays, explained that she had always had an interest in sheep and had been looking for a new breed she could introduce to the farm at Upper Latheron.

Commenting on the Oxford Down, a large breed with a woolly topknot and dark face and legs, Hannah said: "They kind of caught my eye and had what I was looking for."

Along with her father Graham and mum Trish Sinclair, she started her search for Oxford Downs last December. However, it was not until April they sourced a ewe and lamb, followed by two hogs from a breeder in Sauchen, Aberdeenshire.

Working with the new arrivals has kept Hannah busy over lockdown, and she is now hoping to get a ram over the next month or two so that she can build her flock up.

The breed are in the minority section of sheep in the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watch list and are described as very docile, while being strong and bold.

Ewes generally have few lambing problems and make good mothers, while lambs are active and hardy at birth as they have a good wool covering.

Local AI cattle breeding technician Willie Mackay met up with Hannah while visiting the farm on agricultural duties and was immediately impressed with the breed.

Upper Latheron already runs a herd of 90 suckler cross cows and some 60 hill Cheviot ewes.


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