Kintyre’s first Valais Blacknose sheep?

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A young farmer from Kintyre has introduced the first Valais Blacknose sheep into the area and now she wants to find out what local crafters could make from its highly-prized wool.

Caitlin Ronald has just completed her HNC in agriculture with Argyll and  Oatridge Agricultural Colleges and is working towards her HND.

She has bought, she believes, the first ever Valais Blacknose ram to Kintyre and will be adding some ewes to her flock once lambing is over.

‘I have always liked this breed and found a breeder who lives near Ayr,’ said Caitlin.

And so she bought Fin Westwood of Glenstockdale, who is known to his friends as Mumfy.

This Swiss breed looks like it has escaped from the pages of a children’s picture book, with its black face and leg markings.

But looks aside, from a farming point of view, it is a very hardy breed and its wool commands high prices – at present anything from £25 to £50 for a fleece. The Valais Blacknose is bred primarily for its wool and fleeces can weigh around 4kg.

Caitlin described it as a lovely, soft and high-quality wool. She said: ‘I want to find out what local crafters would make of this wool, for spinning, knitting and felting. It would be good to think that we could have some Kintyre Valais crafts.’

You might be able to catch sight of this latest addition to the neighbourhood at this year’s Kintyre show, as Caitlin is thinking of showing him.