The Lost Flock – the Borerays of Orkney

Room 2, 2:30pm

Jane Cooper grew up in North Warwickshire and learned to knit when she was very young. In 2010, Jane met the late Sue Blacker of the Natural Fibre Company, who wanted to get British Wool into the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, so Woolsack was born, which they ran together.

In 2013 Jane and her husband Paul moved to Orkney and got their first Boreray sheep and in 2017, Jane discovered that she was the custodian of the last remnants of the ‘Lost Flock’ of Boreray sheep. To secure the long-term future of the Orkney Boreray, Jane established flocks with more (younger!) Orkney crofters and farmers, to develop products and markets and make them a profitable enterprise for everyone involved. In September 2021 Orkney Boreray mutton became Scotland’s second Slow Food International Presidium. There are now eight flocks of Boreray sheep in Orkney.

In September 2023 her book, The Lost Flock, was published, telling the story of the Orkney Boreray sheep.

At this event Jane will be telling you about the Orkney Boreray Community and how it works, and about how significant it has been for the success of their specialist mutton production to create and sustain a good relationship with chefs and restaurants.

She will be sharing the experience of the Orkney Boreray Community in achieving this, why it is influential in public awareness of their mutton, and what has been important to help maintain a productive relationship. She will cover what it has been worth the OB Community investing in as part of this process and why a sustainable business such as this needs to go beyond just securing a sale.