CHILLY temperatures and relentless rain may have taken the shine off spring this week, but the arrival of dozens of rare lambs have helped re-inject some gaiety into the season.

Liam Snowden has welcomed 26 fleecy new arrivals of the rare Hebridean breed to his farm in Deighton, near Northallerton.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Snowden began breeding Hebridean sheep about two-years-ago and in the last few weeks his 29-strong flock has become 55 thanks to a successful lambing season.

He believes this means that he now has the biggest flock of Hebrideans in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

He said: "This year's lambing season has been fine, I have not lost any and it has been all good.

"Sometimes you lose a couple and there was a bit of frost this year, but it was nothing compared to last year when we had all the bad snow in March.

The Northern Echo:

"They have been kept in a barn under heat lamps so they have all been quite warm."

As their name suggests, Hebrideans originate from the Scottish islands.

The last known native Hebridean sheep survived on Uist, and in the 1880s some were taken from there to Storrs Hall at Windermere where they distributed as ornamental animals to various country estates.

In 1973 they were identified by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as being in need of conservation.