It was shearing time for the Callanish alpacas yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) – and owner Clare Lewis made sure her herd had only the best when it came to shearers.
Specialist alpaca shearer James Dixon came off the lunchtime ferry and headed straight over to the West Side, eager to get the alpacas shorn before any chance of rain could stop him.
Not only had James travelled to Lewis specially for the small herd, but he’d actually travelled all the way from Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, accompanied by his ‘rouseabout’ (shearing hand), Devon-born Ginny Tidball.
An appreciative group watched the duo work, including Leo Halbert of Uig, who particularly wanted to celebrate his 14th birthday visiting the alpacas, who recognise him every time he visits.
It’s James’ second visit to the Callanish herd, and one of dozens he’s making the length of the UK during our summer shearing season. Today he and Ginny are away off the island again and heading for Wick and Thurso, before another ferry ride to Orkney.
The Callanish herd of six – matriarch Caskie and her charges Bella, Carla, Petra, Martina and Pandora – was finished in under an hour, using a snow-comb cut to leave them with just enough fleece to withstand Hebridean conditions.
Their soft wool is now to be combined with last year’s shearing and sent up to be spun by Sue Crafter in Carloway, ready to be sold in the Callanish Alpacas shop later in the year.
Pictures show Clare and her alpaca herd before, during and after shearing by James and Ginny (Annie Delin).