Jenny Shepherd from Ballacosnahan
Jenny Shepherd and her partner Rawdon Hayne are at Ballacosnahan Farm in Patrick. The farm stretches from just below the summit of Slieau Whallian down to the river Neb – perfect Manx Loaghtan country. Jenny started with 6 Manx Loaghtans in 2003 and we now have over 600 and growing. she recently discovered that in 1912 Ballacosnahan had one of the last large flocks of Manx Loaghtans so it is lovely that Ballacosnahan once again has Manx Loaghtans grazing the fields.
The wool is naturally a beautiful rich dark brown colour that is soft, warm and hard wearing. Many say Loaghtan wool can be course but not theirs! Jenny and Rawdon have been breeding for good wool for over 10 years, they select rams for breeding that have perfect fleeces with no white “cobwebbing” and it has paid off. Jenny has won best Manx Loaghtan fleece at every Royal Manx Agricultural show since she first entered in 2006, a 10 year record she hopes to keep. They started with balls of Aran and double-knit wool which have been selling well for a few years especially to the USA but they are now trying exciting new ways to use their wool. They have just launched our knit your own Manx Loaghtan Beanie Kit and handmade Loaghtan beanies. They now have 4ply wool which has been surprisingly popular especially with the Scandinavian countries. Soon they hope to have rugs made and are even looking at making felt after a hat making firm in Yorkshire said the wool would be perfect for felting. It really is wonderful what you can do with wool!
The meat from these primitive sheep has a unique surprisingly intense flavour. They take over 18 months to mature and the meat is a dark colour, finely grained and low in cholesterol. Modern sheep are about 28% fat, Loaghtans are only 5% fat.
Manx Loaghtan products can be found at MostlyManx, their website or via Etsy.