Caithness Yarns offers premium quality artisan yarns made from sheep sourced from high welfare small – medium sized farms in the North of Scotland. The focus is on the traditional breed here the North Country Cheviot, with side lines from select British Rare Breed sheep like my own Castlemilk Moorits.
My story is this. I come from a long line of crofters, we Bethune’s have been here in Dunbeath since the 1830’s, with just a wee break when my dad left to work away before moving back over 20 years ago. For the longest time as a family the men both crofted and fished. I often thank the maker I don’t have to go to sea. I am a poor sailor, I once was seasick on a ferry while it was still tied to the dock. I settled here in Caithness in my mid thirties after a diverse and world wide assortment of pastime, I found peace and a sense of really belonging once I committed to farming Ballachly Farm.
Ballachly Farm is a special place. For a small farm of 50 acres it has an amazing diversity of environments, normal farmland grazing, a an ancient Aspen wood, Chapel Hill a place of Medieval trading and maybe worship. Also several novels by the great Scottish Modernist writer Neil Gunn are set on the farm. If you want to know more I will tell the stories of Ballachly in more detail in articles that will appear in the Our Sheepie Stories section of this site.
Being the custodian of this land has touched my heart, its care and improvement has become my obsession and creative outlet. The family and now myself have renovated the farmhouse and outbuildings, building new ones, replacing all farm fencing, improving the quality of the fields. Now I am embarking on further programs of environmental diversification and repair, looking to raise both sheep health and numbers by repairing the slow degradation of the working farmland by intensive overuse of fertilizers and neglect. If you want to know more detail about what we have done and hope to do in the future look in our Sheepie Stories page.