Caithness Yarns

Here at Caithness Yarns we are committed to farming properly, certainly as well as we possibly can. Then from the great fleece we get from happy healthy sheep you get great yarns. With our commitment to high ethical and welfare standards you can be sure that our yarns are as conscientiously made as possible. All sheep whose fleece goes into our yarns are well treated living happy and natural lives. We are signatories to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust pledge for the ethical treatment of animals. 

The fine principles stated bellow are just the starting point for us, we strive constantly to incorporate innovative Farm and Animal management practices always with a focus on raising the health and happiness of our lovely sheepies.  we also donate a small percentage of sales from Rare Breed breeds to that worthy group.

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health & vigour.
  2. Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease: by prevention or rapid diagnosis & treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities & appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions & treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Purple Orchid Yarn

Naturally coloured Yarn

Sunny Juniper Green Yarn

I often wonder just who is in charge here on Ballachly Farm, me or this girl in the picture next door, “Boss Ewe”. In the end it is a moot point, we both want the same things, peace and quiet while we eat well and have plenty to do and see around the place. Boss is the only named sheep I keep. She acquired that name as she rose through the ranks of sheepie matriarchy to be the lead sheep, first through any gate first to any new feed and the girl who noisily tells me whenever she sees me wandering around that “she would like some sugerbeet thank you. “Right now!”

Boss is a perfect example of both the quality of “True” North Country Cheviots and the relationship between sheep and Shepard I seek here on Ballachly. To this end I have her piebald fleece processed as a single unit producing just 15-17 100g double knitting skeins a year.

I look to keep up the tradition of “Hill” Cheviots that goes back 230ish years here in the far north. Some call this sub-type of the breed “Lairg” or “Hill” I call it “True” North . Whatever it is called the sheep type is several things that are important to Yarn quality. The “True” type is perfectly adapted to the weather and soil conditions here in Caithness and North Sutherland, after all its had long enough to settle in. The girls produce a strong wool of very high quality to stay warn and dry, it has a wonderful natural white that makes for excellent undyed yarns that were traditionally used for fisherman’s and farmers working jerseys like The Guansey. The white picks up dye accurately making a great base for subtle shading or for firm bold colours. 

Lastly I have an unusually relaxed relationship with my Cheviots, Boss is a great example. When I walk up to a gate the girls run towards me in anticipation, not away in fear. This makes me very happy. It, also means the sheepies are relaxed, unstressed, and thus happier and healthier lives. Being Happy and healthy I contend makes for better wool and thus better Yarn. 

When you buy and wear Caithness Yarns from Ballachly sheep remember these points every time you put on or see our Yarn. This is a Natural Sustainable product, produced with the welfare of the animals as the priority, traceable to specific years and flocks, even sometimes to individual sheep like The Great and Bold “Boss Ewe”.

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