Let’s Learn Moor: its a sheepdog’s life

sheepdog's-life

Declaration

Now, before I start, I would just like to declare that I am in fact a dog, a Border Collie to be accurate.  

Since my paws don’t lend themselves to typing, I’ve asked my good friend Tina Brough from the North York Moors Moorland Organisation to write this on my behalf…

 

Best three days of the year

Another exciting three days was wrapped up on Wednesday when the last of our 500 school visitors waved us, and the big outdoor classroom, goodbye for another year.

This was my fourth year of Let’s Learn Moor (LLM). Having enjoyed myself immensely during our first year in 2017, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited back again each year since. 

My name is Jack. Alongside my sheep Sarah, Susan, Stacey and Shaun, and not forgetting the boss Luke, we demonstrated the important job the sheep do on the moors.

How nice it was meet so many lovely children out on the moor, all of whom seemed very happy to make a fuss of me, even those who had never touched a dog before.

The little girl who rolled me over to curiously look for my missing leg gave my tummy a tickle, so all was good. 

My boss Luke also allowed Terence and Tabitha (ticks!) a very brief appearance, but we won’t dwell too much on our nasty little parasite friends. They did serve to allow the children to recognise what ticks are however.

 

Chainsaw Charlie and friends

Chainsaw Charlie (ferret) and Anna and Mustard (labradors) helped John teach the children, and possibly the grownups too, on how important it is to follow the Countryside Code. 

Hopefully the next time they visit the moors they will remember to only take photos, leave footprints, take all their rubbish home and always keep their dogs on leads.

Slate the Mountain Rescue dog had his first visit to LLM this year. As he is only 11 months old, I must admit he was very well behaved and trained for his age; I’m not sure I had the same control when I was his age!

Slate worked with his owner Sarah and her colleague John to show how they locate and rescue missing people on the moors. With children bound to stretchers too it all looked very exciting.

I also met Star and Bee the working gundogs this year. They brought their friends Freddy and Franky – Lavender Pekin Frizzle bantams, naturally – who had a very special job in impersonating curlew chicks. 

No ball games

The gamekeepers talked about predator controls and the importance of the Red-listed bird numbers and how we can help increase their population numbers on the moors.

The children learned all about moorland fires and even got to try out some of the equipment like the fire pans and the pressure washer.

My favourite was definitely the leaf blower. It took all my restraint to stop myself from chasing the tennis balls that the children were blowing around.

 

Rural taskforce and unique landscapes

North Yorkshire Police Rural Taskforce explained to the children the process of the very important “999” calls.

Their discussion about the importance of remembering and describing distinguishing marks about places and people got me thinking, I wonder if my blond eyebrows count as distinguishing features? I’ve often been tempted to dye them, but I think I may leave myself as distinguishable now.

They had no animal friends to assist them, but they still did a pretty good job. Even some of the children who were a little scared about visiting the police all looked very happy afterwards.

Jonathan from the North York Moors National Park talked about all the special birds that live on the moors and how unique the landscape is. 

I can’t believe that some of the children had never been up on the moors before. It’s such a fab place to live and visit and I’m pretty sure now that it won’t be long till they come back again.

 

Trying game

For the first year since we started LLM, this year were able to let the children try some cooked grouse.

Our friend Lizzie showed the children how to cook the grouse in special oil before letting them try it. 

They compared to it steak and bacon and it definitely made me a little bit hungry. In fact, it was so good it all got eaten; I didn’t even get any scraps!

 

A big thank you

I think that about wraps up LLM on the North York Moors but I must say a big thank you again to Anna and Gareth for sorting the days out.

It was a little strange that they weren’t there every day this year. But, now LLM is running across many regions, I know that there were more than 2,000 children visiting moors in other areas this week. I guess we have just to share them so lots more people get to have as much fun as we did.

We all try our best to reach the pinnacle in attempting to engage, entertain and educate the kids we meet at LLM.

I’m hoping everyone who visited us on the LLM days enjoyed it as much as we all did. 

My friends and I love some time away from our day jobs and we really hope we get an invite for LLM again next year (hope you’re reading this Gareth!).

Hope to see you all soon,

 

Jack

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