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Baa-ck home: Crofter's 540-mile round trip to save lamb

Melanie MacLean, 50, regretted selling her pet lamb at a market last month.

Family: Melanie MacLean with pet lamb Norman.
Family: Melanie MacLean with pet lamb Norman. SWNS

A crofter made a 540-mile round trip to save a lamb from slaughter - after she regretted selling him.

Melanie MacLean, 50, hand-reared pet lamb Norman after he was rejected by his mum when he was born in April.

The little lamb could have died had Mrs MacLean not intervened to watch over him for his first 48-hours of life.

But last month Mrs MacLean, from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, sold the pet at a market in Lochmaddy in North Uist.

Suffolk lamb Norman was picked up by farmers Irene, 66, and Jim Fowlie, 69, who purchased 600 sheep at the sale on September 2.

Norman was taken to their Aberdeenshire farm, but former policewoman Mrs MacLean couldn't stop thinking about the beloved lamb - who was like a pet dog to her.

Twenty-four days later, she decided she wanted him back and set off on a 16-hour round trip to Fraserburgh to get him.

Saved: Mrs MacLean hand-reared Norman after he was rejected by his mum.
Saved: Mrs MacLean hand-reared Norman after he was rejected by his mum. SWNS

Mrs MacLean said: "I thought if I gave myself a week or two I'd get over it but I didn't.

"I was a little embarrassed about phoning Irene but I just had to bite the bullet.

"She's a sheep breeder and I thought it might be weird for her to hear.

"I called her and explained the situation but she was like 'don't be silly' and was instantly welcoming."

On arrival to the field where Norman was living with 700 other sheep, Mrs MacLean was stunned when he ran "like a bullet" towards her after instantly recognising her.

She said: "He was lying down and then I stepped out and was going to shout, then he just stood up and ran like a bullet towards me.

"I've never seen a lamb run that fast.

"I just burst into tears. It was just complete relief and euphoria.

"I just said 'come on Norman, let's go home'."

The farmers let Mrs MacLean take Norman back free of charge.

Mrs Fowlie said: "It's truly amazing.

"She fell in love with him and couldn't get over it.

"We'll remember it for a long time - she was so grateful."

Norman is now safe at home and is settling back into life on the MacLean croft, where he will live out the rest of his days.

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