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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 13:26 UK
Gerinagh y Cheyrrey Loaghtan

Isle of Man Manx Loaghtan Sheep

George Steriopulos has been farming Loaghtan Sheep for more than 25 years and says it is a privilege to work with such incredible creatures.

Ta George Steriopulos er ve gerinagh kirree loaghtan son ny smoo na 25 bleeaney as t'eh gra dy vel eh feer aighoil dy ve gobbragh marish lheid ny cretooryn yindyssagh.

"Until the 18th Century the Manx hills were home to thousands of 'primitive breed' mountain sheep, including the Manx Loaghtan.

"Derrey yn 18oo cheead-blein va thousaneyn dy chirree slieau 'sheelrey bunneydagh' ry gheddyn er crink Vannin, goaill stiagh y cheyrrey Loaghtan.

"By the 1950's however, the breed which is unique to the Island was close to extinction, with under a hundred left.

"Agh ayns ny 1950yn va ny sloo na keead jeu er mayrn, as yn sheelrey shoh, nagh vel ry gheddyn agh ayns Mannin, v'eh er chee goll mow.

"Nowadays, we consider farming Manx Loaghtan Sheep to be a privilege."

"Jiu ta shin coontey shin hene feer aighoil dy ve troggal ny kirree Loaghtan. "

The Loaghtan is a very distinctive breed, which has evolved to adapt to the challenging Manx weather conditions.

Ta'n Loaghtan ny heelrey lane anchasley, as ta'n cummey echey er jeet gy kione dy chooney leshyn tannaghtyn bio ayns chymmyltaght chreoi Vannin.

"The first time I noticed the Loaghtan sheep was at the mart at St. Johns, where I was shopping for store lambs.

"Yn chied cheayrt honnick mee yn cheyrrey Loaghtan va mee ec y vargey-cant ayns Balley Keeill Eoin, raad va mee shappal son eayin.

"My attention was captured by their powerful horns and unique golden brown wool.

"Va my hastid goit chelleeragh liorish nyn eairkyn niartal as yn ollan dhone airhey er lheh oc.

"I used to wonder what was wrong with them because they were being sold for next to nothing.

"Va mee smooinaghtyn hoshiaght c'red va neuchiart oc son v'ad goll er creck son veg bunnys.

"The answer was simple, as a primitive species, they take longer to reach maturity than modern hybrids.

"Va'n feaysley aashagh. Myr sheelrey bunneydagh, s'lhiurey yn traa ceaut oc cheet dy ve slane-aasit na shen ec sheelraghyn mestit noaemshyragh.

"In other words, they do not conform to modern marketing standards.

"Ta shen dy ghra, cha nel ad ayns coardailys rish stundayrtyn margeeys noaemshyragh."

"I came to see the Manx Loaghtan as symbolic of Mann.

"Haink y Loaghtan Manninagh dy ve dou ny chowrey Vannin

"It is unique to the Isle of Man and has brushed with extinction several times. It is such a majestic creature and I decided to take on the challenge of preserving them for future generations.

"Cha nel eh ry gheddyn agh ayns Mannin as t'eh bunnys er n'gholl mow keayrt ny ghaa. T'eh ny chretoor ooasle as chiare mee dy ghoaill ayns laue yn doolane dy reayll ad son ny sheelogheyn ry heet.

"I decided that the extra time needed in developing the breed numbers would be well worth the investment, if the result would re-establish the Loaghtan back into the Manx countryside and onto its restaurant menus."

"Chiare mee dy beagh eh feeu ceau tooilley traa as argid mooadaghey earrooyn y cheelrey dy beagh shen cooney lesh cur er bun reesht y Loaghtan er cheer Vannin as cur eh er kaartyn-bee ny thieyn-bee aynshoh."

George's wife Diana shares his passion for the Loaghtan and has been a huge help in this success story.

Ta ben George cho jeean as eshyn son y Loaghtan as s'mooar y cooney t'ee er chur da sy skeeal speeideilagh shoh.

"At times it has felt like quite a crusade, but Diana and I share the same passion and we now are seeing our efforts beginning to pay off.

"Ny cheayrtyn v'eh beggan gollrish caggey ny croshey, agh ta mish as Diana ny neesht cho ard-jeean son y chooish as nish ta shin fakin dy vel ny eabbyn ain cheet er nyn doshiaght.

"We started buying all the Loaghtan's we could get our hands on, much to the amusement of other local farmers.

"Ghow shin toshiaght liorish kionnaghey dy chooilley Loaghtan va ry gheddyn, ren cur er ny eirinee ynnydagh gearaghtee.

"At the time no one seemed to understand that, in order to save this proud breed, they would have to be eaten, it is the only way, the essence of farming.

"Ec y traa shen v'eh jeeaghyn nagh ren peiagh erbee toiggal dy begin da'n cheelrey ooasle shoh ve eeit dy hauail eh. She yn un aght as dooghys eirinys neesht.

"It has been an interesting journey developing the numbers for meat to a viable level.

"T'eh er ve ny yurnaa symoil mooadaghey ny earrooyn ry hoi jannoo feill dy liooar.

"The meat that we sell is aged between 15 and 18 months, which is still adolescent in Loaghtan terms.

"Ta'n feill ta creckit ain eddyr 15 as 18 meeghyn d'eash, ta foast beggan ny saa na eash slane-aasit y Loaghtan."




SEE ALSO
Caillt ayns Mooir Vannin
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Islanders celebrate Manx language
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In defence of 'lost' languages
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