Friday, 6 January 2017

Sheep and Wool Conference

I am helping to organise the 7th North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference on the Isle of Man from the 12th to the 15th October this year. Participating countries and areas are Norway, Shetland, the Orkneys, Faroe Islands, Iceland, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man and Greenland.
I have previously attended conferences in Iceland, The Faroes and the Lofoten Islands in Norway.
The aim of them is to stimulate interest in the endangered native breeds of these regions, to network with farmers, wool workers, craft workers and anyone else who has an interest in helping to make the production of wool more sustainable. The landscape that these sheep are reared in is also of importance and methods to preserve such places is also discussed. Some of the ideas explored in previous conferences are better branding of wool and its products, practical lessons in grading wool, high value fashion garments and diversity of products.
The Isle of Man is home to the iconic Loaghtan Sheep and we will have local speakers and one from England talking about the sheep, landscape and products produced locally from the wool. The rest of the speakers will be from the other participating countries, some of whom will discuss the great improvements that they have made since they hosted the conference. This gives us a chance to learn not only of their successes but also the pitfalls they have come across and how they have overcome them. I have made great friends since going to the conferences. there are delegates who travel from Germany, U.S.A., Canada, South Africa and all the Nordic countries. There will also be workshops, exhibitions, trips to heritage sites and a fashion show.
There is already great interest in the one to be held on the Isle of Man and anyone who would like more information can e-mail me at