Cumbrian Rough Fell Sheep; Estonian Ruhnu sheep

Here are the sounds of a UK Rough Fell sheep living in the Lake District, contrasted with the sounds of Estonian sheep on the island of Ruhnu.

The Rough Fell sheep live near the Shap pass in Cumbria, and are a mixed group of large rams. They were recorded in the Winter, with their shepherd, Brian Knowles.

The Estonian Ruhnu sheep live on the island of Ruhnu, and are descended from some sheep purchased on the island in the 1950s. They were recorded in the Spring, with their shepherds, Selma and Riina Kaljulaid. “The Naughty One” referred to in the audio is a boisterous ram, whose aggressive behaviour leaves a lot to be desired in the opinion of his minders…

The Ruhnu sheep are considerably smaller than the Rough Fell sheep, which might account for their slightly higher-pitched baas.

The singing sands on Ruhnu

As well as being home to one strain of the Estonian Native Sheep, Ruhnu also has beaches with singing sand. This means that when you walk on the sand, it emits a kind of squeaking, high-pitched tone.

This is what the singing sands sound like, mixed with the sounds of the ocean lapping at the edges of this island, home to Selma’s flock of sheep.

The aeroplane to Ruhnu

Ruhnu is a small island, 96km from the Estonian mainland. About 60 people live on Ruhnu, including Selma, who has been keeping sheep on the island since the 1950s.

To access the island, it is necessary to take a very small 10-seater plane from Pärnu Airport.

This is the sound of the aeroplane landing on Ruhnu, where Felicity went in search of the native Estonian Ruhnu sheep.