Britain's so-called "loneliest sheep," which was stuck at the foot of a remote cliff in Scotland, has been rescued, according to a group of farmers who made it their mission to save the well-known sheep. Cammy Wilson, who led the rescue mission, said it was a risky one – and that's why, despite past attempts by others, the sheep had been stuck for so long.
The sheep was first discovered in 2021, on the shore of the cliff in Brora by kayaker Jillian Turner. Photos show the sheep at the base of the cliff surrounded by steep rock on one side and water on the other.
In October of this year, Turner told the Northern Times she has spotted the sheep several times since – and the sheep hasn't been able to move off her spot on the base of the cliff. "It is heart-rending. We honestly thought she might make her way back up that first year," Turner said.
She said she contacted local agencies who were "sympathetic" but said the sheep wasn't in danger and couldn't be rescued.
Wilson, who runs a Facebook page called "The Sheep Game" that chronicles his life as a farmer, said another farmer brought the sheep to his attention. Wilson decided to name the sheep Fiona and continued to give updates about her on Facebook.
"The little sheep looks like she's stranded on a little rock," Wilson said in one of his update videos. Although Fiona was sequestered to one area, she still looked "fat and healthy," but had too much wool, he said.
He felt it was too dangerous for a dog to try and herd Fiona from the cliff. "You'll need a lot of people to catch it, and the more people you have, the more risk you have of someone getting hurt," Wilson said in the video. "You can't land a boat there easily. Loads of reasons why that sheep is still there."
On Saturday, Wilson had an exciting update for followers: He and four other men decided to attempt a rescue, using "heavy equipment," to bring Fiona up the slope of the cliff – and they were successful.
"Sheep fans, this is the biggest story that I've broke on The Sheep Game ever. Ever. Massive news," he said, adding that the sheep was "over-fat" and it was "some job lifting her up."
Wilson told BBC News he and Graeme Parker, Als Couzens, Ally Williamson and James Parker use a winch, a mechanical device that can act like a pulley, to get to Fiona. One person stayed at the top of the cliff, while the others traveled about 820 feet down the cliff to get to her, he said.
After the rescue, Wilson said on Facebook the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was on site and it was determined the sheep would be brought to Dalscone Farm, a tourist attraction in Edinburgh with activities for children.
In a statement on Saturday to CBS News, Scottish SPCA said the group was notified of the rescue and attended to oversee the welfare of the sheep. "Our Inspector checked over the sheep and found her to be in good bodily condition, although needing sheared. The ownership of the sheep then was handed over from the land owner to the rescue group," Scottish SPCA said.
In another update on Facebook on Saturday, Wilson said the farmer that owned Fiona didn't want to ask "anyone else for help because it would be on him if they got hurt."
"So sometimes you just need a group of idiots to get a job done," he wrote in the caption. "We got a great result today but a slip of a foot and we would have just been fools with good intentions."
Before sending her to her new home, Wilson cut Fiona's overgrown wool to an inch, so she fits in with the other sheep at the farm, he said on Facebook. The plan is to turn her wool into an item they can auction for charity.
She arrived at Dalscone Farm on Monday.
CBS News has reached out to Wilson and Dalscone Farm for more information and is awaiting response.