Stranded flock in rock face rescue

strathblane sheep rescue 4
strathblane sheep rescue 4

A MAJOR rescue operation was mounted to save six sheep trapped for two weeks on a cliff face, writes Graham Martin.

In total, 23 volunteers from four charities took part in a challenging eight hour operation to free the terrified animals on Dunglass, near Strathblane.

They were first reported trapped by Alisdair Bain of Ballagan Farm, who alerted the SSPCA and Trossachs Search and Rescue to their plight.

He made sure they had enough food to keep them going while experts worked out a rescue plan.

During Sunday’s operation, Lothian 4x4 Response transported technical rope rescue equipment to the top of Dunglass, a 153 metre volcanic plug on the Strathblane to Lennoxtown road opposite Ballagan Farm,

Specialised Land Rovers were used as belay points to tie the ropes to.

Members of Trossachs Search and Rescue and the High Access Rescue Team were lowered to the sheep and guided four uphill whilst two were placed in sacks and lowered to the ground.

SSPCA Inspectors were on hand and supervised the operation to ensure the safety of the animals.

The organisations had participated in five previous rescues at the same location.

But this time proved techically challenging given the recent dry conditions which meant that large spikes which are normally hammered into the soil to act as secure holding points for ropes couldn’t be used as the earth was too dusty and crumbled - hence the need for arranging specialist support from Lothian 4x4.

Stuart Ballantyne of Trossachs Search and Rescue said: “Alisdair Bain is a very responsible farmer and called us in as soon as he realised the sheep were not going to escape from the cliff.

“He and his staff ensured they had sufficient feeding thrown to them on a daily basis until we could get the necessary resources together to mount this technically challenging operation.

Healthy

“This was a real partnership operation involving the four charities and farm staff and we are all delighted that we rescued all six sheep and all seem to be healthy and unharmed by their ordeal”.

It proved to be a busy day for the team as, en-route to the sheep rescue, they stopped to help out at a traffic accident, which happened at 9.45am on the A81 at Dubtreath bends, Blanefield.

Two of the search and rescue team treated a female casualty for a suspected neck injury whilst two directed traffic at the scene.