On Sunday the 10th of June RSPB South Stack held a special event. The day was staged and managed by Hayley our People Engagement officer and centred around the shearing of sheep and the production of garments from the wool. A large marquee was erected to host the event. These sheep help to manage the reserve, as they are used to graze. Pete the Shepard is employed at various time of year to manage his flock.

First came the preparations.

First and most important. THE LUNCH!

Prepared by Jon our catering manager and his staff. It was a wonderful Hotpot, made using Anglesey Lamb, what else would it be!

  

Jon cooking the accompaniment 

Denise our Warden preparing the coral.

Dani setting up one of the stalls.

Emily giving a hand.

Hayley, Pete the Shepard and  Denise, preparing for cricket?

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There was a demonstration on the herding of sheep given by Pete our local Shepard. Pete trains sheep dogs for eventual sale. The dog that he used whilst I was watching was Bet. I found it amazing how just one dog managed to round up a group of sheep all by herself. I am sure that all the other observers found it to be the same. The pictures below give some idea just how clever Bet was, and of course the skill involved in training her to this level. What impressed me the most that Pete used mostly whistles and at very low volume

Spectators watching Bet do her stuff.

Pete giving Bet commands.

Look at the tight circle Bet has penned the sheep, this group was directly behind the shepherd.

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Next came the sheep shearing. 

Our guests eager for a hair cut!

The men shear the sheep.

Spectators and children look on.

The product of their labour!

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Next came the preparation of the wool for spinning.

The picture below shows a lady putting the wool through a hand operated Carding machine. This turns the raw wool into a sort of thick rope made of wool.

Next two examples of woollen items made by a sort of pegging process. Please forgive me if I get some of this wrong, it was a lot to take in.

Next came the spinning.

This picture shows one of our volunteers having a go at the spinning process, with a little help from her instructor.

These are the woollen yarns produced,all dyed with natural colouring!

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The weaving followed on from the spinning, this is where Hayley had a hands on experience.

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All of this took place in the marquee. There were other exhibits as well, there was an environmental stand with an expert available to answer any questions. Haley had an exhibition showing the benefits of becoming a member of the RSPB. This is especially important for children as they are our environmentalists of the future!

  

Two ladies that I surprised, I had been talking to them previously whilst they were looking at the sea birds from Ellins tower.

RSPB Display.

We also had a tom-bola for the children.

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The day would not be complete for me without a mention of Ellins Tower. This is the best vantage point to see the many thousands of sea birds that come to the reserve each year between March and July to breed.

As I walk from the lower car park I take in the beautiful scenery.

Dani and Emily preparing for our visitors and members of the RSPB.

Below the children's corner where each day there is a fresh wall picture to colour.

Above is a model of the buttress where the sea birds nest. This model allows the children to stick images of the different birds they see from the tower.

Below the magnificent view from the tower.

Our first visitors of the day, this is my Dentist and her children. At first I thought that I had missed my appointment then realised she was only here to show the children the sea birds.

Below Ellins Tower, we have a lot to thank Ellin Stanley for. She gave us this magnificent window into nature!

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Lastly but certainly not least I joined onto a nature walk with Denise our site warden as the guide. Denise pointed out many wild species of flowers. I will not include these as the blog is getting rather long and I want to post a separate blog of these and other flowers.

Denise showing us one of the flowers identified.

We are now off to the mountain

We come across North Stack shrouded in sea mist.

It is amazing what you can find on the mountain.

Bye for now, Mel.

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