Introduction / The Island / Farming
The Second Statistical Account mentions some 200 sheep on Pharay or the Holm. This would have been around 1840.
Before the planking in the 1840s, the sheep from the Pharay Holm would come across and run all over the island. While this might have been fine in the winter, it was less so when crops were growing. As a result, the young folk used to have to herd the sheep. Where young folk gather, there was naturally a bit of courting.
The need for the herding of the sheep was reduced with the creation of a dyke at the north end of the island. West Geo, the most northerly geo on the west side of Pharay, was a barrier to the Holm sheep. These sheep were a great part of one’s living during the winter.
In the 1930s, each house might have had twenty or thirty native sheep on the Holm. There might only have been two or three of the larger breeds of sheep at some of the farms.
Sheep have continued to be the main activity on the island after the inhabitants left in 1947 with people coming to stay for a time during the lambing.