The recent snowfall just prior to lambing. Lucy (foreground) with (from left to right) Everest (the ram), Lucky, Cheeky and Jane. Craig and James inspect the water trough in the background.
Following the torch light as my feet crunched across the already frozen ground, I hoped our heavily pregnant ewe named Lucky, had delivered her healthy lambs. Alas, she'd got herself cast as the first lamb had been born. The little wet creature was still warm but very much dead; her mother, unable to get up and clean her and break the birth sac from around her face. I quickly turned Lucky over and steadied her as she got to her feet. We both let out heavy sighs, hers from exhaustion, mine from disappointment. Quickly back to the house to tell Craig, and put on a woolly hat, extra jersey and a heavy coat. I had a feeling this wasn't over. So here I am, crouched in the gorse, in the paddock, it's below zero and nearly midnight. The cat comes to keep me company and is quickly shooed away by another mother with week old lambs. She moves between Lucky, her dead lamb and the cat - instinct to protect another? Lucky has begun to clean her first lamb. She's making quiet mothering sounds. Contractions begin again. A glimpse of little hooves appear. This lamb is born with almost no effort. I move in quietly to clear around his mouth. He's a fantastic size, with black legs and face. He is warm, wet and absolutely lifeless. Most probably drowned. Lucky and I try quite a few things in an effort to revive him. She cleans him and I rub vigorously. I even consider mouth-to-mouth! Realising the futility I place the lambs together and leave Lucky to her babies. She will stay with them until I take them away in the morning light. If only I'd gone out with my torch an hour earlier.