Carbeth is a grassland farm, nowadays best suited to grazing livestock. As a new entrant to farming in 2000 I didn’t rush into buying livestock, preferring to listen, learn and investigate through the internet.
Carbeth is good sheltered ground, so whatever I bought would do well on it. The increasingly heavy rainfall, lack of experience and general challenge, ruled out cattle, so a sheep enterprise was decided upon.
I had always liked Suffolks but the breed was still in a mess at the time and I needed something with the ease of a Shetland but more commercial. I visited Marcus Maxwell and was impressed with his Romneys and New Zealand genetic Suffolks. Searching the internet I discovered the Lleyn which seemed to tick all my required boxes. A visit to a Lleyn open day followed. SAC’s John Vipond was present endorsing the breed’s attributes, which led me to my first Lleyn sheep breed sale at Perth in 2005 where I bought 10 gimmers and 10 ewe lambs from David Alexander’s Millside flock.
A tup lamb was also bought from David and he gave me a good start by leaving 14 ewe lambs and only two tup lambs! I made full use of the extensive networks and events organised by the breed society, hoovering up as much intelligence as I could from the enthusiastic and helpful members at every opportunity, they are a wonderful bunch and the society is incredibly professional, always looking to improve without compromising the qualities for which the Lleyn is renowned.
A Dalmeny bred shearling tup was purchased in 2006. He injected some of the commercial qualities I was after.
In 2010 I saw a New Zealand genetic Suffolk shearling at the Scotsheep event which reminded me how much I liked the old fashioned Suffolks before their heads and legs grew out of proportion, literally and figuratively! The little ram lamb arrived, was put in with the gimmers twice his size, and has proved himself 100% through his resulting progeny, lambs slipped out a dream and were up and sucking in jig time.
2010 was my year of investment in technology on the hoof. I had bought into New Zealand expertise for my Suffolk. Next, I bought into Scottish expertise and technology. I bought a Lleyn shearling with good EBV maternal figures at Neil & Debbie McGowan’s on farm Working Jeans Sale of performance recorded shearlings. He too has lived up to expectations, his lambs slipping out easily and up and sucking quickly.