Soay Fleeces

Soay sheep have the most primitive appearance of any British sheep breed and takes its name from the island of Soay in the St. Kilda group off the coast of mainland Scotland. Soay means "sheep island" in Norse which suggests that there have been sheep on the island since at least the time of the Vikings. Soay fleece varies greatly in texture, ranging from the "very hairy" to the "very woolly". The hairs on a Soay tend to be found around the neck, along the back and under the chin and are what help make this breed especially hardy; protecting them from the harshest of weather from the Atlantic. Soay tend to shed their fleece naturally making it difficult for shepherds to collect a full fleece: it must either be "rooed" before it is all lost in the field, or collected from the field after it's been shed.

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