Farmer Battles To Rescue Sheep Buried In Snow In Staffordshire (Photos,Video)
6 months ago
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Dramatic footage has captured the moment a farming couple were forced to dig their sheep out of a 10ft snowdrift during a snap blizzard caused by Storm Arwen. Kate and Nev Barker worked for hours to find their missing flock on Saturday, November 27, after heavy snow hit their farm in Staffordshire farm, near the Peak District.
They realised three ewes were entombed under the snow and had to act quickly to save them.
Temperatures plummeted to around 24.8F (-4C) over the weekend as a thick blanket of snow and ice smothered much of the Midlands and north-western England.
In the footage, Nev can be seen battling through the 'brutal' weather as he desperately digs a hole for a confused sheep to escape through.
He encourages the animal towards him, clapping and shouting: 'Come on, come on', but the couple's efforts appear to be in vain as it remains slumped on the ground.
After several minutes, the ewe finally emerges. Its ice-encrusted wool indicates it had been trapped under the mountain of snow for several hours.
Kate, 49, and Nev, 48, run a smallholding near Leek, and own 50 sheep which are kept for breeding and wool.
As Storm Arwen rocked northern England at the end of last week, the pair were initially unperturbed about their flock of Herdwicks, which are renowned for being hardy.
But on Saturday morning they realised that after 10 feet of snow fell during the night, only 37 of their sheep were accounted for.
After walking around their acreage Nev and Kate became increasingly worried for the missing members of the flock.
'The access into our fields was just thick with drifts,' Kate said.
'We were up to our waists, it was that deep we were just sinking. Panic set in.
'We clambered over to the sheds and found most of them huddled there.
We dug the back of the shed out to gain access, so the flock could get some relief from the elements, and some hay and water. Your instinct just kicks in.'
But some were still missing, so the pair used a crook to poke the larger snow drifts looking for their sheep.
They eventually found three ewes entombed in a drift that was more than 10ft high.
Video footage shows Nev digging out the first ewe with his hands, before enticing her out.
It took several minutes before she was brave enough to leave the igloo she had been stuck in.
Two further sheep were huddled behind her and all three were taken to the sheds to recuperate. Amazingly they were all unharmed.
He added: 'It's literally like you've got your pet dog stuck in the snow, and all you want to do is get them out and make sure they're ok.' 'The conditions were brutal,' Kate added. 'But amazingly they're OK and now running around the fields like nothing ever happened.'