A moorjock on Barker’s Ridge

Grazing below Stony Wicks, a scrappy sandstone set of crags at the head of Scugdale, this moorland sheep is oblivious to the eerie sight of the morning fog creeping up the dale from the Vale of Cleveland. Colloquially known as Moorjocks, this sheep is probably a Swaledale, said to be one of the mountain breeds descended from a small flock that was on board a fleeing ship of the Spanish Armada that was wrecked off the coast of Cumberland.

When I was working on the construction yards of Teesside I remember hearing moorjocks used as a derogatory name for dales folk supposedly because they rarely left the dale in which they were born, hefted to the dale just like the sheep is to the moor.

On some grouse moors sheep are used as tick mops to control ticks which weaken the young chicks. The sheep would be dipped up to 5 times per year to kill off the ticks and then released again to collect more ticks.
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