Seaweed-eating sheep make wool yarn to cherish

Our magnificent native seaweed-eating sheep have their favourite food washed up fresh twice-a-day. They are living a completely natural life in a beautiful place. This high quality of life results in the purest wool yarn, free from chemicals, free from stress, and completely sustainable. Auskerry has two flocks of sheep each instinctively belonging, or ‘hefted’

New Year in Auskerry

We had some strong winds over Christmas which brought a lot of seaweed to the shore for the pregnant ewes who depend on the nutritious seaweed for their food. Currently we are enjoying a mild and dry spell with little in the way of wind, which is not so good for the sheep, but luckily

Gardening Auskerry style

The weather may not yet be warm but at least the ground is drying up a little, so we have been digging and planting in the small areas that we use to grow flowers and vegetables around the house. In the early days the garden had to be dug with a pickaxe as no fork

Lambing is early this year

The first day of May used to be the date when lambing really got under way and we would be rushed off our feet with 13 ewes lambing a day … but this year lambing has come early; we had 16 pairs and several singles born yesterday and similar numbers born on Thursday and Wednesday last week!

Limited Edition

There are only three flocks of North Ronaldsay Native Orkney sheep left in Orkney. Our flock is the second largest. Our island farm is 250 acres and the sheep have access to every part of it. However, the island will only support a finite number of sheep and so we have limited amounts of fleece

Entirely Handmade

All our products are handmade and individually designed and finished. We shear our sheep by hand (link to sheep blog) with tools that have been used since Medieval times. The fleeces are washed in open sinks outside and put through a Victorian mangle before being dried naturally in the fresh air. We cure our sheepskins

Our Environmental Philosophy

The way that our sheep are farmed and the lives that they lead as well as the way we make our products is completely the opposite of modern industrial /intensive farming and manufacturing. When you buy our products you can enjoy knowing that our sheep are not confined to fields nor made to eat only

Lambing on Auskerry

I love lambing time on the island though it is a very noisy affair with lambs and ewes constantly calling to each other. The majority of the time, North Ronaldsay, (Rollie) ewes have very few problems during lambing. Unlike ‘soft’ commercial breeds they do not need constant vigilance during lambing as they never need assistance

From Fleece to Yarn

Many of our customers want to know how the fleece that is keeping our sheep warm and dry today becomes their knitting project tomorrow, so here is the answer… In the summer months, using large shears we hand clip the fleece from our sheep and roll each one up before packing them into large bags

Lifestyle of a North Ronaldsay Sheep

The North Ronaldsay or ‘Rollie’ breed of sheep pre-dates the Iron Age. These rare and unique sheep do not need humans to help them in any way. Although it is possible (if often frustrating!) to gather them by human activity, it is not advisable to try using dogs. ‘Rollies’ have no respect for any canine

Hard Work = Free Fuel

Our life on Auskerry relies heavily on our supply of peat to keep our stove burning in order to provide us with hot water and a house warm enough to survive the long, dark nights of an Orcadian winter. We cut the peat out of the ground with an ‘L’ shaped, long handled knife known

Our Family Business

For the last 35 years we have been farming the isolated island of Auskerry. Our boys have grown up helping to round up the sheep for lambing and clipping; a job that involves a lot of running over this 250-acre island especially as North Ronaldsay sheep have no respect for sheepdogs and will jump straight