We are often asked, “How did Goats in Coats come about?”.
Well, it all started when we launched our first batch of Scottish Cashmere yarn from our Cashmere goats in 2022. We are the UK’s only commercial producer of homegrown Regenerative Cashmere. Working regeneratively means we farm in way that supports nature. It also means bridging the gap between our farm and our community to improve local food and fibre systems.
So, in late 2022, we reached out to our local community to ask if they would like to knit jumpers for our goat kids due in Spring 2023. My Mum is a keen knitter and she honed a tried and tested goat sweater design, over the years, to keep our smaller kids cosy at kidding time. These included the odd premature newborn and any tiny triples. We shared my Mum’s goat coat pattern, in three sizes (newborn, toddler and chunky), online and waited to see the response.
We expected that we would receive maybe 20 or so hand knitted goat coats from local knitting groups, but imagine our surprise and joy when parcels and bags of hand crafted creations started flooding in! From Bristol to Banff, the parcels kept coming. Every day our postie arrived laden with woolly treasures. Talented folk for our local community dropped off bags after bags of their handmade creations too. All in all, over 500 goat coats were donated by the time our newborns arrived.
We were bowled over by the volume of coats and also by the quality and variety of the creations. From neon brights to muted hues, we received every colour in the rainbow. Our basic pattern was pimped by talented knitters to include Billy Goats Gruff motifs, our Lunan Bay Farm logo and other unique stamps of creativity.
We received coats made with all types of yarn. From knitters who were keen to use up ends of the odd balls they had lurking in their project bags, to coats made from sustainable yarn from rare breed sheep including North Ronaldsays.
We even had one very talented lady, Janet Oaker, who made her coat by specially shearing her sheep called Pam, spinning her fleece and knitting with Pam’s yarn!
We had pupils from the local primary school, Ladyloan in Arbroath submit their goat coats, the result of their first attempts at learning knitting. Later on in the year, the same pupils were to host a trio of our Miniature Cashmere Goats at their school all term time to help with tuition, outdoor learning and improving mental health, part of our Goatgetters project.
We were so grateful to everyone who donated goat coats so we decided to invite all knitters to a special day to meet our kids adorned in their knitted creations. It was fantastic to see the joy in everyone’s faces whilst they witnessed our caprine cuties popcorning in our goat nurseries, sporting their new knitwear. Our visitors begged us to share this experience with the wider public so “Goats in Coats Tours” was born!
We opened our farm doors over three special open days last Easter and welcomed over 1000 amateur goat enthusiasts, who marvelled at our colourful kids and enjoyed their cuddles, under the watchful eyes of our goat Mums. Our tickets sold out within minutes. We even had one goat daft couple that drove all the way from London just to visit our kids!
It was a great opportunity to showcase our regenerative activities on the farm and introduce everyone to our herd including amorous Dennis our Cashmere buck who featured in our game, “Guess Who’s the Daddy” and our mischievous Pygmies.
So, we are planning next Easter’s Goats in Coats Tours (30-31 Mar and 6-7 Apr 2024) and there will be some surprises! We have sold out of half our tickets already after launching them on 1 Dec. Looking forward to welcoming everyone to our farm next year!
Tickets available for Goats in Coats 2024 HERE