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    Pride of the Dales - Glorious Grassington

    Oh Grassington, what a busy yet tranquil pleasure you are, packing a punch for your size and jammed to the brim with quaintness. From a pint of black sheep in the local to cobbled streets, quirky small vendors and artists to tandem cyclists having a pit stop on a tour of the Dales - not to mention the holidaying dogs shaking the river off their backs. 

    We thought we'd share a few pictures and tidbits with you about one of our favourite Yorkshire villages this week with a view to inspiring you to visit if you haven't already.

    Coming soon in Grassington... take in the sights during the 1940s weekend that's set to take place on the weekend of 18th - 20th September. With big bands to swing bands, tea dances to war games, trade stands to re-enactment there ain't half a lot going on. For more information visit www.grassington1940sweekend.co.uk.

    And one of our favourite favourites..... The Dickensian Festival! Grassington time hops on Saturday's this December, bringing locals and visitors a sensory experience that won't fail to get you in the mood for the festive season.  Find out more on Grassington's tourism website.

    #GBHighSt #grassington


    Manga Carta's 800th Anniversary.

    The nation celebrates Magna Carta day, one of the most celebrated documents in history, today - but did you know it was written on parchment made from sheepskin?

    To make parchment, sheepskin is soaked in lime and then stretched out very tightly between pegs in the ground and left to dry. Once dry the skin is scraped off to create a soft and smooth writing surface that works well with ink. It looks like there is only one company left making parchment from sheepskin in the U.K today and the parchment is generally used for conservation work by archives when fixing original manuscripts.

    Catching Up With Joe

    It's about time to introduce you to Joe and find out his good, bad and ugly bits about working for Westmorland Sheepskins on the North Yorkshire markets and National shows. Joe joined the team in 2009 after working for a large banking firm in his early 20s.

    6 years working in the family business, what do enjoy about it?

    There are not many jobs where you get to see your family so much for a start.  We are, and always have been, a close family and being able to spend time with them at work is great, usually! We are all striving for the same goal when we wake up in the morning and all want the firm to grow positively.

    What do you like about your job?

    Working on the markets and shows you develop friendships that turn into an extended family. You spend 4 to 5 days a week throughout the summer moving from show to show and see the same traders as you follow each others tyre tracks round the country. You spend a lot of time with each other on nights when the shows close putting the world to rights over a beer and a BBQ. Most traders (with the exception of a few) will go out their way to help you out if you are ever in difficulty and need help or just need someone to watch your stand while you pop to the toilet (this isn't easy when working on your on your own the whole day as you can't just walk away from your stock!)

    Every day is different and the views from my office window are always changing - from the small villages in the Yorkshire Dales to the large country estates like Stanstead House in Hampshire or Sandringham House in Norfolk. I tend to go back to the same show around the same weekend each year and develop friendships with regular customers as well and look forward to seeing them each year.  Even if they don’t need a new pair of shoes or slippers at that time, it is always nice to see them and have a chat.

    Image courtesy of wfmillar via wikimedia.

    Other than the shows and markets, are there any other parts you enjoy?

    I enjoy going out to find new suppliers and product ranges. We spend a couple of weekends in February and March going to trade fairs in Italy and Spain, walking up and down the aisles searching for that little gem. My first success for example was Jungla.  Like us, Jungla are a small family business from Spain producing fantastically beautiful and comfortable full leather shoes and we were the first company to retail them in the UK. I have enjoyed building that relationship with them and making sure we work together to get the best for both of us out of it.

    Okay enough of the likes, what do you not enjoy about your work?

    There are not many, but one is getting out of bed on a cold wet winter morning at 4.30am to drive to a market and then the 2 hours it takes to set up and taking down.  I guess another one is that during the summer the shows are on weekends when a lot of my friends tend to meet up and I miss out on them.

    Oh... one last thing...folding the side sheet on the stall!  They are 20 odd foot long and doing them on your own is a bit of a bore... yawn!

    What are your aims for the future and Westmorland Sheepskin?

    I think we are in a great position at the moment as a business but I never want to be static without change and development - that's another plus to working in the family business, nobody does. Tim and Dom are working hard on the online side of the business and have recently opened a retail unit at Crimple Hall just outside of Harrogate.  I think that's a great thing for our business and something I hope they develop further and open a few more around Yorkshire as it gets our name out there and is a fixed location.

    Stylists Choice

    As you might know we've been out and about across Yorkshire shooting new products and more for this colder season we seem to have just bumped into! (more to come about this at a later date). In the meantime though, we've been asking the team what their favourite shots and products were.

    First up is Sally Pellen, our stylist for the shoot across all three locations.

    What are your favourite shots from the shoot?

    I love the energy of the group shot and how they look like one big happy Yorkshire family - my husband likened it to Yorkshires equivalent of the Dolce & Gabbana campaigns (with a beautiful family all attending a wedding) - I like the Yorkshire version :) 

    I also love the shots of Beth in the Toscana Gillet pushing Henry in his cosy snug, it's a great way of capturing lots of product and still looking chic. 

    Who couldn't love the 'Love Story' of Tracey & Jamie though, Westmorland's answer to Romeo & Juliet (without the tragedy bit!). There is a shot of them both walking away on the top of the crag and the simplicity of it is just perfection. 


    Robyn and Huw, the shot with Robyn holding Huw up and kissing him...don't think this one needs an explanation!

    Just one more, I think the slipper shot of Jamie's feet by the fire at the Star Inn is really strong and makes you want to be there. 

    And your favourite products?

    Products...again I have a few favourites...

    Toscana products in general - beautiful and light, who knew sheepskin could feel so very very soft, luxurious and delicate. For me the Toscana Gillet was a real hero piece from the shoot and I think Beth looked stunning in it, hence I wanted her in it most of the day! 

    I also love the Toscana aviator/trapper hats, they look stunning.

    Finally thinking back to the Star Inn, the tan mule slippers are so classic and cosy.

    Sally x


    All photography by Lisa Stonehouse Photography (www.lisastonehouse.co.uk).

    Celebrate wool week and enter our draw to win some sheepskin gloves for someone you love

    It's getting colder and darker and we should be gloomy right? Well nope, we can't do it sorry! We get the fire going, don our winter woollies, get the kettle on and have a cuddle, a cwtch, hug it out.. however you call it in your house.

    So we're feeling the love this autumn and want to share it with you, not to mention its wool week this week . If you think your mum, sister, daughter, partner, friend or someone else dear to you would really appreciate being treated, simply send us an email to info@westmorlandsheepskins.co.uk titled 'Love gloves' along with the following. 

    • Your name:
    • Name of the recipient:
    • Their address:
    • Relationship to you:
    • Preferred Colour (Red, Dark Brown, Tan, Beige or Navy Blue)
    • Size (Small, Medium, Large):
    • Tell them why you think they are great: 


    You only have until Monday when we'll select three winners at random and send your nominated person a pair of Sheepskin gloves, all wrapped up with a lovely message from you.

    Hand hugs! The Westmorland team



    Those terms and condition things...

    The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 12th October 2014.

    We will send a pair of genuine sheepskin gloves out to the nominated ones from three randomly selected entrants, all wrapped up with a lovely message from you.

    Please note that the gloves are for ladies, we'll treat the gentlemen amongst you soon enough though!

    All personal information will be discarded at the end of the competition and will not be shared with any 3rd parties. HOWEVER, if you want to know more about us, offers, promotions and more sign up to the mailing list from our homepage.