The Highland Wool project

Highland Wool is being formed as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in order to support a sustainable wool industry in Scotland. Read our mission statement here.

A sheep’s fleece is 50% carbon, captured from the soil in the grass they eat. At the Hirsel, when we shear our sheep, we try to use every bit of the wool as possible: using the best to create products which will continue to store that carbon for years to come, and using discarded wool in the garden for mulching and composting, which returns the carbon to, and enriches the soil it was taken from. Aiming for a closed circle, where as much of the carbon taken up from the grass by the sheep is locked into a product, or returned to the soil again.

But sadly, we find that sheep’s wool is not as valued in the larger commercial world as it used to be – and should be. As many in the farming industry know, the prices farmers are paid for our raw wool is seldom enough to pay for shearing – which must still be done every year, for the welfare of our sheep. This leads to much waste, with many farmers being forced to dispose of their wool altogether. On the Scottish mainland, especially if you have a small or heritage breed flock, and you wish to turn your wool harvest into a sustainable product, but don’t have the skills or facilities to do this yourself, you must often send it many miles away, often to England or Wales to have it washed, carded, and spun. This not only negates much of the carbon sequestration properties of the wool itself, but is costly – and also precludes adding a ‘100% Made in Scotland’ label to our products.

Highland Wool seeks to address this situation by bringing Scottish farmers (especially those working with small or heritage breed flocks), wool artisans, and the public together to utilize and promote the amazing, sustainable product that wool is. One of our first projects will be to build a wool mill at the Hirsel. We hope many other projects will eventually spring from this one.

You can read our mission statement, and we will be incorporated by summer 2022. If you are interested in being a part of this vision – or simply want to be kept apprised of our progress, contact Donna at info@thehirsel.com.

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