Specialist shearing courses

The British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) is putting on extra blade shearing courses this summer, due to a surge in demand from smallholders and farmers wishing to learn the craft.

Learning traditional country skills and crafts is becoming increasingly fashionable, with beekeeping, for example, even being taken up by young couples in London.

It is hoped that the extra courses will help anyone who is keen to learn the rewarding, practical and environmentally friendly craft of shearing sheep with blades.

For people who own sheep, particularly smaller flocks, the most obvious advantage of learning to shear with blades is having the ability to shear their own flock in their own time – without being at the mercy of machine-shearing contractors, who can be notoriously hard to get hold of.

The start-up costs are minimal: it costs less than £30 for a pair of blade shears, compared to well over £1,000 for an electric machine and all the necessary paraphernalia that goes with it. Also, as there is no time-consuming setting-up involved, work can be done as-and-when it suits: many people with flocks of up to 30 sheep just do one sheep per day.

Blade shearing has a much smaller carbon footprint than shearing with machines, as a pair of blade shears uses a relatively tiny amount of steel and energy to produce, and of course they use no electricity.

To find out more about courses in your area, please phone or email: Donna Mackenzie: 01877 339 657 – donnamackenzie@britishwool.org.uk.