Edinburgh helicopter pilot called to deliver hay bales to sheep stuck in deep snow

A helicopter pilot was called to the rescue to help farmers deliver food to their sheep stranded high up in the hills, unable to move in the deep snow.

Murray Graham, from Edinburgh, is a line pilot for Skyhook Helicopters, a business with an airport in Fife that offers helicopter delivery services for construction and utilities.

In an unusual operation this week, the experienced flyer was called by several farmers in the Campsie Fells and Glenalmond areas of the country on Wednesday to deliver bales of hay and feed blocks to the trapped livestock.

According to the pilot, farm workers had been unable to drive their vehicles through the snow to where their flocks were stranded.

Murray Graham used his helicopter to help farmers deliver food to their sheep in the snow picture: Murray Graham

“The sheep were high up in the hills and farmers just haven’t been able to get to them since we’ve had this build up of heavy snow,” Mr Graham said.

"One farmer had a quad bike and the other had a ski doo, but they couldn’t carry the weight of the feed through the snow."

Mr Graham lifted the bales as underslung loads and, with one of the farmers on board, flew the food out to the stranded flocks.

"Some of the sheep didn’t even run away when we arrived with the helicopter they were that stuck,” he added.

A view from Mr Graham's helicopter as he prepares to land near the sheep picture: Murray Graham

"With deep snow like this there's such a lack of food for the animals and I know farmers were concerned about losing some livestock, so it was great to be able to help.”

Scotland has been gripped by a cold spell of weather for months now with the country seeing record freezing temperatures.

The coldest temperature for more than 25 years in the UK was recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on the morning of 11 February.

At -23.0C the temperature was the coldest temperature recorded in the country since 2010.

Mr Graham is a pilot for Skyhook Helicopters based in Fife picture: Murray Graham

The same village has also measured at least 70cm of snow which, according to one local resident, has been the highest measurement made in the last 15 years.

The spell of cold winter weather is expected to continue for a few more days as snow and ice warnings remain in place for parts of Scotland on Friday and Saturday this week.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Hay bales and feed blocks were successfully delivered to flocks of sheep stranded in the snow picture: Murray Graham

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.