Photo: PJ photography/Shutterstock

This Remote Scottish Island Is Looking for a Warden for Its Seaweed-Eating Sheep

Scotland Wildlife Travel Jobs News
by Eben Diskin Jun 28, 2019

If you have an affinity for sheep and you’re good with lifting heavy stones, you’re a good fit for this job opening. North Ronaldsay, a remote island located at the very top of the Orkney archipelago in Scotland, is looking for a sheep dyke warden to save its precious species.

North Ronaldsay island in Scotland

Photo: Google Maps

A centuries-old dyke has prevented the sheep from grazing on the island’s agricultural land, but this dyke is crumbling, and now a warden is needed to ensure that the thick wall is fixed.

Residents (there are only a few dozen of them) have to keep the sheep away from arable land, not only because they want to keep their crops intact but also because the sheep, being used to a unique seaweed diet, cannot eat terrestrial plants for fear of copper poisoning. Residents are also keen on preventing sheep from jumping the wall and mating with other breeds of sheep and ruining the precious lineage.

While landowners and shepherds have traditionally been responsible for maintaining the dyke, the island’s population is aging, and it has become increasingly difficult to find someone to manage the sheep full time.

According to the job posting, the successful candidate will be responsible for “carrying out a predetermined programme of rebuilding and repairs to the sheep dyke, and be responsible for managing and carrying out repairs to the temporary fencing erected where the sheep dyke has been damaged, and to coordinate and work with groups of volunteer dyke builders.” They must also have “a good level of physical fitness, have good communication skills and experience of dry stone dyking and project management is desirable. A willingness to work constructively with the local community is essential and the applicant must be able to work on his or her own initiative.”

The job is 35 hours per week, and pays a salary of $28,000. To apply, check out the posting and fill out the application form.

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