Icelandic sheep for the first night of the Yule Lads
© John Porter LRPS/Alam
Here's looking at ewe. On the lookout for Sheep-Cote Clod
You're looking at one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the world. Icelandic sheep are descended from the short-tailed sheep which came to the island with the first wave of settlers from Norway in the 9th and 10th centuries. These sheep, with their dual-layer woolly coats, thrive in this harsh environment, outnumbering people by more than two to one. But on 12 December they will have to contend with something more invasive than the wind chill factor. Sheep-Cote Clod, the first of the 13 Yule Lads, is due to visit. Who’s that, you say? The Yule Lads are white-bearded brothers of Icelandic folklore who, in the run-up to Christmas, wreak havoc and leave small gifts – or rotten potatoes, depending on behaviour – in shoes left out by children.