VACANCY for Sheep Dyke Warden

35 hours per week • Salary £21,840

Click here to download a printable pdf version of these details.

The North Ronaldsay Trust is looking to appoint a Sheep Dyke Warden to restore North Ronaldsay’s unique sheep dyke to ensure that it is fit for purpose.   This post will run for an initial period of three years.

The Sheep Dyke Warden will be responsible for carrying out a pre-determined programme of rebuilding and repairs to the sheep dyke, and be responsible for managing and carrying out repairs to the temporary fencing erected where the sheep dyke has been damaged, and to coordinate and work with groups of volunteer dyke builders.

The successful applicant will have a good level of physical fitness, have good communication skills and experience of dry stone dyking and project management is desirable. A willingness to work constructively with the local community is essential and the applicant must be able to work on his or her own initiative.

If you would like to find out more please first check the frequently asked questions below. If the information you are looking for is not there please email

If you would like to apply for this post please use this application form.

The closing date for applications is Friday 9th August 2019. Interviews will be held from the end of August.


Can I apply?

Anyone can complete an application form but you need to check your own eligibility to work in the UK. Please click on link to find the job description and application form

Where is North Ronaldsay?

North Ronaldsay is the most northerly of the Orkney Islands, in Scotland, U.K. – geo location 59.372433° N, -2.415777° E.

What size is North Ronaldsay?

North Ronaldsay is about 4 miles long by about 1.5 miles at its widest point.

How many people live on North Ronaldsay?

Around 60 people currently live on North Ronaldsay.

How do you get there?

North Ronaldsay has a daily air service operated by Loganair from Kirkwall Airport. The flight takes 15 minutes if direct but some flights go by other islands. North Ronaldsay has 3 flights daily during weekdays and Saturday in the summer. The ferry takes 2.5 hours direct from Kirkwall and is operated by Orkney Ferries. There are two boats weekly in the summer months as well as some Sunday trip day excursions. In the winter there is one boat weekly and a freight plane.

Link to Loganair

Link to Orkney Ferries

How do I get to Orkney?

Please follow the links below to for ferry and flight operator information:



Click here to download a printable pdf version

Job Title

Sheep Dyke Warden (35 hours)


North Ronaldsay, Orkney

Responsible to

The North Ronaldsay Trust, the island development trust

Duration of Post

Three Years


The recently renovated school house, or alternative accommodation may be available

Background and Purpose

North Ronaldsay is the northern most of the Orkney Islands. It is an island with a rich natural and built heritage; an important part of the latter is the unique thirteen mile sheep dyke which surrounds the island ensuring the native sheep remain on the foreshore. Storms and high tides have destroyed much of the dyke and there is an urgent need to carry out rebuilding and repairs. The dyke is integral to management of the native sheep and the role shall require close liaison with sheep owners and the ‘Sheep Court’ who are responsible for looking after the communally managed flock. This post is funded by The North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Key Responsibilities

The primary part of the role is being responsible for carrying out a pre-determined programme of rebuilding and repairs. Dry stone dyke building experience is desirable but due to the unique nature of the Sheep Dyke it is not essential and training and guidance will be provided.

  • Co-ordinating volunteer tourism to repair the dyke.
  • Assisting with sheep management activities.
  • Guiding tourists and actively promoting volunteering activity
  • To maintain constructive working relationships with land and sheep owners and local organisations involved with the sheep and dyke
  • Responsible for managing and carrying out repairs to the temporary fencing, erected where the sheep dyke has been damaged
  • Carry out any other duties that may arise and which are considered appropriate to the role, such as a programme of works to improve and maintain access to the foreshore
  • This job description is a general statement of the duties and responsibilities associated with the post. It is subject to periodic review to reflect the changing nature of the post and the needs of the community.

Key Tasks

  • Repairing and rebuilding dyke and if required, the temporary fencing.
  • Working with land owners, sheep owners, the Sheep Court and the public.
  • Organising and leading groups of people.
  • Communicating with people

Relationships and day-to-day organisation with NRT

The NRT and the Island Community see the Sheep Dyke Warden as vital to restoring the Dyke and ensuring it is fit for purpose. The NRT, the Sheep Court and the Sheep Dyke Warden will work together in a spirit of co-operation and team work for the benefit of the North Ronaldsay sheep owners and the general community. To do this NRT in conjunction with the Sheep Court will set goals and methods of working and throughout will regularly measure, communicate and recognise performance.


Appropriate personal protective equipment/clothing and basic hand tools will be provided

Contact with NRT

In all work with the NRT, a nominated Director of NRT will be the line manager for the Sheep Dyke Warden


The nominated Director will discuss and agree a range of shorter-term objectives and targets to provide a work plan for the initial three months.

The workplan will be very much arrived at by mutual agreement after a discussion on prioritisation of work, time allocation and other resources. It will be jointly “owned” by the Sheep Dyke Warden and the North Ronaldsay Trust.

This workplan will be revised and updated on a rolling three month basis.

Informal and formal performance reviews

The achievements and method of achievement of the workplan will be the key method of assessing performance of the Sheep Dyke Warden and will be a key input into the monthly supervision meetings and annual appraisal carried out by the nominated Director.

Attendance at meetings

The Sheep Dyke Warden will be encouraged to attend all meetings of the Sheep Court and any other meetings relevant to the Dyke or the native sheep.

Progress report

The Sheep Dyke Warden will provide a short bullet point e-mail summary of current activities to the directors of the North Ronaldsay Trust.


NRT is the employer and the post will be line managed by a nominated Director, who will hold monthly supervision meetings and an annual appraisal.


35 hours per week flexible. Some out of hours work may be required. No overtime will be paid but time in lieu allowed for any hours worked in excess of 35 per week. No more than ten hours will be accrued as time in lieu without the explicit permission of the line manager.


Living on the island will be a key requirement of this post. Rented accommodation may be available for the duration of the post.


£21,840 per annum.


28 days per year including 9 days public holidays.

Person Specification

Knowledge and skills – Essential

  • Ability to work unsupervised
  • A good level of physical fitness and manual dexterity
  • Ability to rapidly learn new skills
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written and through a wide range of media
  • Ability to work with animals, sheep in particular

Knowledge and skills – Desirable

  • Understanding of social enterprise
  • Understanding of and interest in community and the interdependent nature of parties within a community
  • Facilitation skills
  • Ability to relate to a wide range of people
  • Community engagement skills and methods
  • Communicating through a range of media – website/social media

Qualifications/Experience – Essential

  • Physically challenging work
  • Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
  • Experience of working with community groups

Qualifications/Experience – Desirable

  • Dry stone dyke building
  • Project Management and organising / running training and events
  • Track record of recruiting, motivating and training volunteers

Disposition required

  • Positive approach
  • Ability to respond positively to conflicting demands
  • Sincerity, patience and tact with the ability to earn the trust of others
  • Motivated and able to motivate others
  • Able to use own initiative and to work unsupervised
  • Ability to perform under pressure
  • Proactive

This post is funded by:

Support our projects!

Click the links below to find out how you can support individual projects

The Old Beacon
Sheep Dykes
The Kirks

or make a general donation here

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