Yarrowford and Melrose, Scotland
We were able to sleep in ‘til 8:30 for 9:30 breakfast call and a 10:30am departure for Yarrowford and the Sheep Dog/Sheep Shearing demonstration. Bobby Dalziel. Bobby is a 6-time National Champion and a 3-time International Champion. He will soon be competing with Joe and Spot for the World Championship. If he wins, he’ll hold the record for the Sheep Dog Herding 'triple crown'.
John sheared a couple of sheep for us. He eschews modern technology. Rather than using the electric clippers he prefers to use hand shears but prefers slightly more modern scissor-like shears. John first had to cut into the fleece around the sheep’s neck. He said it was like rope and really had to cut in to release it. He then expertly clipped row after row. Apparently there is a gap of about an inch between the sheep’s skin and the densest fleece where it is softer and the guide for the shearer. Within about 5 minutes, he had the fleece cleanly removed. There was also a Texel fleece. Laurie pulled some locks from both fleeces and washed them. The results were astonishing - white, white fiber ready for carding. She drafted and twisted them and made a wee skein.After lunch, we went to Melrose to tour the Abbey and then to visit Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott. The Abbey had beautiful lines and was surprisingly well preserved considering it was about 1000 years old. There are lots of gargoyles including a pig playing the bagpipes. I particularly liked the tombstone with a skull and crossbones on it. And another view of the Abbey.After that, I walked around the block finding two uninspiring yarn shops. Then we were taken to Abbotsford House. We had very enthusiastic guide who, every time he mentioned ‘Scotland’ would thump his chest over his heart. We were fortunate to tour the house because in mid-September, it will be closing for 18 months for a huge restoration/renovation project. There were many interesting artifacts including the cross Mary Queen of Scots had in her hand when she was beheaded (a process which evidently took a while and was very gruesome for the lookers-on). High up on the wall of one of the rooms with battle memorabilia and armour was the Douglas shield, the clan from which we Inglis' are descended.- We then walked around the beautiful gardens.