A ewe dubbed ‘Scotland’s loneliest sheep’ has been rescued after being marooned at the foot of a cliff for at least two years.

The solitary sheep was first spotted by a kayaker on a shingle beach at the bottom of some steep, rocky coastline in the Cromarty Firth around two years ago.

The kayaker was then  alarmed to see that the sheep was still there while repeating the same paddling journey - from Balintore to Nigg - with their local kayak club recently.

After seeing media coverage of the ewe’s plight, a rescue mission was organised a group of individuals with climbing expertise, watched on by the Scottish SPCA.

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A Scottish SPCA spokesperson said: “This morning the Scottish SPCA were in attendance at the hillside after they were made aware that a group of individuals with climbing expertise were attempting to rescue the stranded sheep by descending down to where she was trapped.

“This is not something that our own inspectorate have the experience or equipment to be able to do ourselves, so we were not involved in the rescue itself, but we did attend to ensure the welfare of the animal.

"The team brought the ewe up successfully and our inspector examined her. Thankfully the sheep is in good bodily condition, aside from needing to be sheared. She will now be taken to a specialist home within Scotland to rest and recover.

“We are very grateful to the team who rescued the sheep, although we must stress that they were only able to do so as they were experienced climbers. We would like to remind the public not to attempt any rescue that might endanger themselves, or an animal, during the process.”