Friday night we were invited to watch Oliver Henry judge the Shetland Fleece show at the Mart where the Show and Sale would take place the next day and we just couldn't pass it up. Oliver has been sorting and grading Shetland fleeces on the Islands for about 50 years, so he kinda knows what he's doing by now.
We were pretty surprised to see that the fleeces were single coats, with a few fleeces having some minor guard hairs, but nothing excessive that would create an overly long tip. We had heard that the purebred Shetlands on the Islands had much longer fleece, and I did see some of those, but they were simply sheep ON Shetland and I have no way of knowing if they were cross bred or purebred. The sheep at the Show and Sale, however, were all purebred Shetland sheep and were first inspected prior to entering the show. Not all the rams passed inspection, but a large share of them did meet all the criteria for inclusion in the Flockbook.
|Left to right: Suzanne Meikle, Philip Cowen deep in thought and Alan Hill watching the show on Saturday|
|Hamish Hunter with the white ram|
|Fleece show photo|
|Oliver's "Scoring" sheet|
|Best group of 3|
|Moorit group of 3|
|This one shows how the peat makes the fleeces appear to be grey, but it does wash out.|