on my farm, wool is the main crop

Here at Caithness Yarns, I am committed to farming my sheep properly. That means a relentless focus on the health and happiness of the sheep because happy healthy sheep make better wool for Caithness Yarns. To achieve the very best wool means working within nature and not at the expense of, with sheep as one part of the wider management of the farm, not as the only aspect that matters.

The five principles stated below are just the starting point for me. I am constantly innovating my sheep and farm management, always looking to improve the lives of my sheepies, repairing and supporting the natural splendour of Ballachly.

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

Read more about this in Graeme’s articles on farming for yarn here and in The Knitter.

The Knitter is the premier magazine for confident knitters who are looking for beautiful, original patterns from the world’s best designers.

The Sheepies

I love my sheepies. The joy, contentment and satisfaction in being a sheep farmer of “True” North Country Cheviots is the centre to my life. I find my sheepies endlessly entertaining, despite their reputation I find them funny, quirky and interesting. They will break your heart by dying suddenly but the occasional sadness just adds sweetness to the rest of the time I spend with my sheepies. I have never felt such a depth of peace and contentment as I feel in sitting in a pasture, late may or June surrounded by ewes and lambs.


Ballachly Farm: Small but mighty in diversity and history

Ballachly is a unique place of amazing complexity and diversity and what will follow is a series of articles about some of these stories. Hope they are of some interest.

I admit I love this place, it fascinates me, and I have devoted my life as its custodian to its care. It might be unclear from the outside whether I own the farm or it owns me, but does it matter? Farming is a way of life and a life of great happiness. I have two goals as a farmer: Firstly to continue the long history of tending for this place, farming in such a way as to pass the farm on in better condition than I received it. Secondly to use everything I know and can find out to raise the health and well-being of my sheep to bring you the very best yarns I can.

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