Following on from Mr Georgeson's fabulous live demonstration of sheep shearing in Chapel earlier in the term, a small group of students attended a sheep-shearing course in Tomintoul:
Report by Ana D-D, Year 12
Sheep shearing - a task that doesn’t seem too difficult, and also where sheep shearers (aka Mr Georgeson - the pro) make it look really easy!
On Tuesday a team of six of us embarked on an all-day wrestling match with sheep along with Mr Georgeson and Mr Harvey. We left at 8am and travelled to a farm in Tomintoul, where the farmer was kind enough to let us use his sheep as our shearing models. We got a briefing from our host, Doug, and also a demo, after which we all looked at each other in disbelief, as he completed his shear in just a couple of minutes (even while talking to us about what he was doing at the same time).
After showing us how it is done, he then helped us individually together with Mr Georgeson with our first shear. This included dragging the sheep out of the holding stall and onto the shearing area, which was quite difficult as they tried to escape back to their friends and really are not the lightest of animals! With me being not the strongest of people, this part was quite difficult but I persevered and managed to complete the shear with some ease (although the sheep did manage to wriggle and almost escape a couple of times). It was really important that you made sure you sheared along the skin to ensure you didn’t cut the sheep by accident.
The technique of shearing is actually really complicated, and you have to follow the specific stages carefully to ensure you get the biggest and best quality yield of wool. It was quite difficult ensuring the sheep was in the correct position to shear the wool, but by the end of the day we were working very well as a team and managed to shear 25 sheep between us, and once we figured out how to do it properly it was all in all a very enjoyable experience. We spent the whole afternoon working together in pairs to shear the sheep, which was really good fun.
Thank you very much to Mr Georgeson and Mr Harvey for taking us out for the day, and also to Doug and the farmer for helping us and allowing us to shear his sheep. We were all shattered afterwards and are probably going to have sore backs for a couple of days now!