We are a small company, originally set up under the auspices of the island’s Community Council, with a view to promote the fibre from the native North Ronaldsay Sheep.
Our animals are a rare breed of short tailed sheep whose origins date back to Neolithic times. Over many centuries, this unique flock has evolved without interference and cross breeding.
Confined to the foreshore by a 13 mile drystone dyke, which was completed around 1832. The sheep have evolved to survive on a diet of seaweed.
The ewes come inland for lambing and spend the summer on grass before returning to the shores with their lambs in August.
As it became more difficult to find large mills prepared to do small runs of fleece, the idea was born to spin our own fleeces on the island.
We eventually secured funding for a Belfast Mini Mill, which arrived from PEI in Canada in 2003. The mill was set up in the former Lighhouse Engine Room, which stands under the tallest land based Lighthouse in the UK at the northern end of the island.
Visitors to the island can also have a tour of the mill and see the different stages of producing yarn.
By buying these products, you are helping to sustain the traditional preservation of this unique ancient flock and allowing them to exist in their natural form on their seaswept island of North Ronaldsay.
Did you know…
Like the Herdwick sheep in the Lake District that heft to their own fells, North Ronaldsay Sheep remain loyal to their own areas of the shore known on the island as clowgangs.