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Shearing sheep across the world
18
Apr '11
Doug Lambie was just in his late teens when the Falklands War broke out, and was far too busy farming and shearing sheep to even consider joining up. Besides which he only shoots pheasants and foxes, he adds.

Just over 18 years later however, Doug was off to the Falkland Islands on a mission of his own: to teach shearing and help the youngsters there improve their skills.

Originally from the west coast of Scotland, Doug now farms two hundred acres in North Wales with his wife, Ann, and two daughters. At 46 he still does extra work off the farm, driving lorries in the winter and working as a shearing instructor across Scotland and the North of England for the British Wool Marketing Board in summer.

Ten years of full-time shearing has made Doug many good friends all over the world, and it was one of these friends from the Falkland Islands, Lee Lonks, who suggested the trip. Lee is the main contractor on the Falklands and was keen to help his employees by paying Doug's expenses for the three weeks' instructing.

“He's one of the best shearers out there,” Doug says. “He could see that there were a lot of young boys – he knew they needed being told, but he didn't have the instructing techniques to tell them. And sometimes it's a lot easier coming from an outsider than coming from the boss.”

Going on a course is the fastest way for young shearers to improve, Doug is keen to stress. “I wish I had gone on more courses earlier, when I was younger,” he says, “but I didn't have the sense to do it then; I was too busy trying to make money”.

The enthusiasm of the young shearers on the Falkland Islands impressed Doug. “I just got asked questions [about shearing] all night, every night until bed-time,” he says.

Enthusiastic and talented young shearers back home in Britain are entering competitions in vast numbers. Is this partly thanks to Wool Board training here? “There's no doubt about it,” Doug says emphatically. “A lot of it goes down to the efforts of Colin MacGregor the British Wool Marketing Board Shearing Manager. He's put his own time into the job, he's very conscientious.” The Board has approx 800 trainees a year on their courses from beginners to advance courses.

Doug and his colleagues will begin running shearing courses for an army of keen young recruits from mid April. His first course in Scotland will take place towards the end of May in Lochfoot, Dumfriesshire.

British Wool Marketing Board

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