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We are farmers, crofters, and crafters who have come together to build a vision of local, sustainable processing of our fleeces.

Meet the team



To support a sustainable wool industry in Scotland; to process Highlands & Islands wool into high value but affordable products; to have a positive environmental impact with our sheep and mill, and to help mitigate farming's impact on our environment; to enable farmers to get the most value from their wool crop; to bring together wool producers, crafters and customers in order to add value to the "100% Made in Scotland" label. 

Read our full Mission Statement

The Barn

Our first large-scale project will be to build a micro-mill in a 200+ year old barn located at The Hirsel in Ardgay. The barn will be renovated and repurposed for the project.  In the meantime, we're resident in a collection of farm outbuildings, while we renovate our rescued Victorian-era carding machine, and develop low impact fleece processing and a water recycling system.


Our approach

Our sustainable, circular approach includes every aspect of the process. These are some of the ways we will meet our goal:

  • Building a low energy system, which will utilize renewable energy whenever possible

  • Cleaning and reusing water, aiming for as little loss as possible 

  • A 'no waste' approach, seeking out uses for even the worst fleece, and developing secondary products from 'waste'.

  • A commitment to paying the Real Living Wage to employees, adopting Fair Trade practices, and whenever possible, ensuring that our contractors do the same.

History of Scottish Sheep

Sheep first came to Britain with neolithic settlers, 4000 or more years ago. Originally domesticated for meat, they quickly became valued for their milk and wool, with meat becoming a secondary use in Scotland until the 19th century.


Scotland has a wide range of native breeds, the two main lines being the northern short-tailed breeds descended from the primitive sheep brought across the land bridge by neolithic settlers, and the long-tail breed that came north through the UK from Eurasia. More here.


History of Wool in Scotland

There’s a long history of a cottage wool industry in Scotland, with most rural families sourcing the bulk of their textile needs from their own small flocks of sheep.  However, when the so-called ‘improvements’ led to the clearing of many families and their native sheep, in favour of large flocks of imported or crossed breeds to supply the industrialized wool industry, home processing in Scotland began to die out - only surviving in small pockets, as in the island production of tweed.


Most of the industry moved to the Central Belt and further south, until the Highlands were left with no local mills servicing small flocks. Today, farmers must send their fleeces many miles away - often into England or Wales - for sale or processing, while recent drops in wool prices mean that shearing and transport costs are now regularly higher than the payments farmers receive for their fleeces.  Additionally, this adds ‘carbon miles’ to an otherwise sustainable, carbon storing material.


Recently, small flock keepers across the Highlands have been fighting to bring back the cottage wool industry, and Highland Wool’s goal is to support their efforts, by bringing wool processing home to the Highlands, with an emphasis on provenance, and on the welfare of our land and animals.

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