I have always rejected the traditional Christian notion that the world was created to serve the white man. God did not conceive the ultimate shopping mall in the Garden of Eden and you were not put here as masters of nature and administers of its resources. I prefer to think of the human race, and all other life forms for that matter, as a disease. But here in Winnats Pass just outside Castleton, Derbyshire, I am presented with evidence to the contrary.
Ominous clouds permanently block out the sky over Winnats Pass and a deluge is always implied. Limestone pinnacles tower the road, relics of ancient coral reefs formed during the Carboniferous period 300 million years ago. Once, this would have been the bottom of a tropical swamp in the prehistorics.
Winnats is a contraction of windy gates, a name that anyone who has felt the bitter sting of a bad day on the A6187 will understand. A winnat (occasionally winnet) is also local slang for a piece of feces caught in the wool around the anus of a sheep. And anyone who has felt the bitter sting of a bad winnat on the A6187… no… There are a lot of shit covered sheep in Winnats Pass, is what I’m getting at.
Yes, shit covered sheep. Sheep are ruminating mammals. They have a four chambered stomach consisting of the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum and the abomasum. Food is first fermented in the rumen by a grim cocktail of bacteria, fungi and protozoa, then regurgitated back into the mouth and eaten again (politely known as chewing the cud). Once re-eaten, the cud moves into the reticulum and omasum where the digestion process begins, before passing into the abomasum where the digestion process is concluded. Remaining matter travels through the intestines to the anus for the sheep to shit all over itself. A truly repulsive animal.
Winnats are not just disgusting, but dangerous too. Both bacterial and parasitic infestation are widespread. The latter can cause flystrike, an often fatal condition where flies lay eggs in winnats and the hatching maggots bury themselves deep into the flesh of the sheep.
Fortunately for sheep, humans have many uses for wool and annual shearing is usually enough to prevent serious health conditions. If not, treatments such as crutching can be employed. Thus, it is only human intervention that maintains the continued existence of the sheep.
Which brings me to the crux of this anti-sheep mandate: Why would an animal with a digestive process, the very thing that keeps it alive, that carries with it the risk of death, and not just any death, but anal parasite death, ever be seriously considered for mass production? If there is a god, he is one sick bastard, and if there is a Darwin, there is a fundamental flaw in the evolution of the sheep. This species is a failure and should be recalled and discontinued at once.
And so, a dark shadow is cast over Winnats Pass. It’s easy to see why locals fear this place. Walking alone at dusk, under heavy skies, the sheep-shaped groans and gurgles emanating from the darkness take on sinister meanings. This is the sound of an experiment gone wrong. This is the language of a soul tormented by its own body. A doomed beast slowly dying from the arsehole out.
Winnats Pass is a place of suffering and death. A place where pain is a cruel circle and hope is just a word. You can get nice cakes down the road in Castleton though.