Dumfries & Galloway Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers visited British Wool, Galashiels, 28th September 2022 – Sue Macniven (President) has written up the experience
Our long awaited visit saw 11 members taking to various cars for the 2 hour trip to Galashiels, some of us (me) got a little lost in Galashiels! However we all arrived eventually without too much delay and were treated to drinks and biscuits before heading out into the vast warehouse space to see some grading of fleeces being done. We split into groups and moved between work stations where we were told how the grading was done, how individual farms fleeces were tracked throughout, and how the farmers got paid. The various grades of fleece were then baled and core samples taken for auction where potential buyers could bid for as many tons of fleece as they require. The auctions are held mainly in Bradford every 2 weeks.
It is astounding the amount of wool being graded by such a small number of workers, there are only 12 full time employees including office and managers.
We were shown the storage warehouse which is a short walk away where sold bales are awaiting collection and some waiting for purchase. It is truly gobsmacking how many 1000’s tons of wool there is stacked up.
Organic wool bales are kept separate and an extra premium of £1.00 added to the grade price.
We were served lunch of filled rolls and drinks to give us energy to rummage amongst the many bays and bins of fleeces available for us to purchase, It was good that I had cleared my boot of fishing gear in anticipation!
The Galashiels depot is moving to new premises in Selkirk which will mean a more efficient system will be possible and a new warehouse will be built. We have been invited back when they are settled next year, so anyone who didn’t manage this visit will have another opportunity.
We were made very welcome and with lunch etc so we decided to send a tub of chocolates as a thank you.