The wool mill is operated by A Yarn from North Ronaldsay Ltd, and occupies the former engine room at the Lighthouse complex. The Yarn Company was established in 1996 to process and promote the fibre from the North Ronaldsay seaweed-eating sheep.
The mill produces a wide range of natural high quality yarns, batts, rovings, and felt. The natural colours of the sheep available range from white through various shades of grey and brown to black, colours can be mixed to produce variegated yarns.
North Ronaldsay sheep have a double coated fleece so clipping must wait for the lith (the gap between the old and new fleece) to rise, which is mostly still done with hand shears. The fleeces contain both wool and hair fibres which is separated during the process.
The tours of the wool mill can be arranged upon demand, where possible times are chosen to suit all interested parties on the day and as the machines need to be off during the tour, when the mill is not working.
More information on the products can be found on http://www.northronaldsayyarn....
Tours cover the process from choosing the fleece through to finished yarn and felt, subject to what is being worked on that day.
The tours take approx. 20min and cost £6 per adult or £3 for children 16 and under. There are discounts if combining with a tour of the lighthouse.