Our island home is our business too.
The isolated Orkney Island of Auskerry has been our home and our family business for over 35 Years. We breed North Ronaldsay sheep that thrive on the island as it has an abundance of their favourite food – seaweed! They wander along the pebble beaches to eat the weed as it’s washed up on the tide. In summer they also feast on the flowers and grasses that grow inland. They live in total harmony with the thousands of seabirds that nest here every year including the large colonies of puffins, stormy petrels and black guillemots. You can see more about our life on the island in these videos made by our son, Rory.
The Native Orkney North Ronaldsay seaweed-eating sheep
Our flock of seaweed-eating sheep are one of only two flocks of this endangered breed left in Orkney. They wander along the pebble beaches to eat the seaweed as it’s washed up on the tide, then follow the receding water to graze on the fresh seaweed all around our rocky coastline. In summer, our sheep feast on the flowers and grasses that grow inland, but seaweed is their favourite food and is full of protein.
Their unique fleeces are symmetrically marked with a range of colours – from caramel to black and creamy silver to dark grey. The yarn they produce is also amazingly soft and fine.
We hand clip their fleeces with shears, making shearing a calm and relaxing procedure for both us and the sheep. We love the chance this gives us to enjoy the colour variations of each individual fleece, and to check on the health of their teeth and feet.
Our Customers and our Products
Because our products are made from the wool we produce in Auskerry, we make sure that the sheep have a natural life, free from chemicals so that the wool is organic and environmentally friendly. Most of the processing is done without machines and on the island and the spinning and weaving are done in Scotland. You can trace the journey of each of our products and see that our co-producers are also small ethical businesses. Every product you buy makes this flock more sustainable, helping to conserve this remarkable breed for future generations.
Our customers often give our sheepskin rugs and blankets as gifts on special occasions, and the blankets can be personalised on request. Many visitors to Orkney buy our lovely yarn as a memento of their visit as this wool is unique to Orkney. Some even knit a kit whilst still on holiday!
It’s always a pleasure to see the results of your creativity from our pure wool yarns, Knit-it! Kits and Creative Components. We love receiving messages from our customers all over the world so please keep them coming in!