North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference Norway, 2012

Attending the event from Shetland was Pete Glanville, of Shetland Organics, Meenie Mouat from Unst demonstrating Lace Knitting. Oliver Henry of Jamieson and Smith. Other delegates present, were from Iceland, Faroe, Norway, Orkney, and the Outer Hebrides.

Meenie, Pete and I

Two delegates from each area gave a 40 minute presentation on their company’s activities, also the cultural aspects and environment for their particular area. They also had goods for sale which was in the centre and open to the public, two afternoons. Each area had products in the Sheep and Wool around the North Atlantic exhibition which will travel around various countries. This is an excellent marketing opportunity for us; we have never been able to access these areas. Our products in the exhibition road show included a Real Shetland Throw, Knit Real Shetland Book, two of the new Supreme Lynsey scarves, one large stole and some yarn samples. The lectures were held in the cultural centre at Strilauent, which is in the district of Northhordland, which is well known for its crofting and farming.

Oliver on Our Stand

At the conclusion of the visits, traditional folk dance, music and singing took place, followed by a buffet consisting of local produce with no strong drink, water only.

There were demonstrations of hand spinning and knitting. There were two visits, first to Hillesvåg Wool Mill, where I caught up with Gunnar and his family.

Hillesvåg Mill

On the way to the mill, we visited a typical Norwegian croft, where the farmer, a member of Norturo, which is a cooperative of crofters & farmers, he showed us his Villsau sheep and talked about his work on the croft. At this farm I met an employee of Norturo, a young wool classer, blonde and stunning. She and two colleagues, one a senior person, were part of the conference; we spent a lot of time together. I was of the opinion all wool classers/graders were grumpy old men like myself, I was delighted to have been proved wrong!

Wool Classer and Crofter

Second visit was a visit to the Heathland centre, which consisted of a two hour walk with a guide who explained how they maintained the land by controlled heather burning. Lunch was also included. We also visited a weavers studio at Nordhordaland Arts and Crafts Centre. Two lectures took place here. We also had a visit to a deer farm, which I personally had mixed feelings about; my vision of deer is running wild through the hills and forests.

Norwegian Heathland Visit
Norwegian Sheep on Heathland

Delegates, 15 of them, all stayed together in one guest house, which meant lots of interaction on various subjects, all very good natured. I shared a small room with the late Pete Glanville of Shetland Organics, which says a lot for community togetherness!

Conclusion – Everything we had with us sold, the blanket kits, almost all of which on the first day. It is vital that we were involved in such a highly acclaimed event; after all we are part of the ancient Nordic countries. Guest countries also included were Sweden, Denmark, Finland, England, and South Africa. It was important that as region of the North Atlantic, we have a presence at this prestigious event. The fact that our exhibition products feature with all the other countries was also a great opportunity for us and costed us nothing.

Very worthwhile, hard work, made easier by a beautiful blonde Norwegian and her two colleagues, they asked me if they come and help out in our wool season!

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