THERE is a new on-line booking facility available for shearers looking to improve their skills through the many courses on offer from the British Wool Marketing Board. 

The courses, which offer blue, bronze, silver and gold seal certificates to beginner and advanced shearers, take place over two days at a variety of locations throughout Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland. 

As a rough guide, each course includes an introduction to shearing, including health and safety risk assessments, and introduction to equipment and a number of demonstration and student practise sessions, where the instructor will give one-to-one tuition.Many of the beginner courses are already well subscribed but spaces are still available, as well as for the advanced courses. 

For young shepherds looking to enter the NSA Next Generation Young Shepherd of the Year at NSA Highland Sheep at the end of the month, there will be a course held on Monday and Tuesday, May 29 and 30, at Fearn Farm, Tain. There, shearers will earn the blue seal required to enter the competition at the event held at Kinnahaird, Contin, on Wednesday, May 31. 

Details and the various locations can be found on the BWMB website or by contacting Donna MacKenzie at 01877 339657 or