Person wanted to save unique heritage of remote Scottish island where just 50 people live

It is home to just 50 people - and a flock of precious semi-feral sheep

A new job has come up on the island of North Ronaldsay, which has a population of just 50. PIC:

Now the right person is being sought to relocate to North Ronaldsay in the Orkney Isles to look after the island's very unique heritage.

A sheep dyke warden is needed to care for the 13-mile wall that protects the island's rare North Ronaldsay sheep, an ancient breed which has survived largely unchanged through time.

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The breed lives solely off the seaweed and rough grazing found on the shoreline, with the dyke separating the animals from the agricultural land.

A sheep dyke warden is needed to protect the ancient rare breed of sheep found on the island. PIC: North Ronaldsay Trust.

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The North Ronaldsay Trust has won three years of funding to appoint the warden as it intensifies efforts to preserve the sheep's way of life and the wall, a Grade A listed monument that is probably the largest drystone construction of its kind in the world.

Volunteers from around the world come to North Ronaldsay every summer to repair the dyke, but it is hoped that hiring a warden will keep the wall in good shape all years round.

The sheep dyke is a Grade A listed structure but it under constant attack from bad weather. PIC: The Orkney Sheep Foundation.

John Scott, chairman of North Ronaldsay Trust, said:" Over a fortnight, the volunteers are able to rebuilt around half a mile of the sheep dyke. We really need more. If there is a storm and part of the wall goes, the sheep are on it. If one sees any gap at all, they are all trying to get through it."

The community has always rallied round to fix the wall, but it is hoped a warden can lead the maintenance of the dyke, which was built in the 1830s and is a Grade A listed monument.

Mr Scott said: "The critical thing is that the person can adapt to living on a small island, which has a population of just 50.

"There is regular transport by Loganair's eight-seater plane but in the winter there is just a weekly ferry service, if that.

"We don't find it remote as we have good communication but others might feel an issue with remoteness.

"The right person will also have to be happy working on their own - and they also have to be reasonably fit."

Mr Scott said he hoped the 'lifestyle' of North Ronaldsay - where a fine community spirit and plentiful natural beauty can be found - would appeal to many.

The old schoolhouse on the island has recently been renovated and could be available to the new candidate at a 'social rent', he added.

The flock is a lucrative source of income for North Ronaldsay, with mutton exported and wool sold around the world.

The annual Sheep Festival is held at the end of the volunteer work party in the summer. One man from Canada who took part in the dyke repairs came back to the island the following year to get married, Mr Scott added.

"People who come here tend to form close bonds with the island," he said.

The closing date for applications is Friday 9th August 2019. Interviews will be held from the end of August. The post, which is funded by North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme, has a salary of just over £21,000 a year.

For more information, please contact [email protected]