Welsh sheep shearing duo prepare for British first

Gareth Daniel and Ian Jones ahead of the shearing record.
Gareth Daniel and Ian Jones ahead of the shearing record.

Supported by the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), next month, 33 year old Gareth Daniel and 36 year old Ian Jones will work in tandem to shear as many lambs as possible in nine hours. Their aim is to set and secure a new British shearing record.

This challenge will take place at Llysfasi Agricultural College, Ruthin, Denbighshire on Friday 19th August 2016.

The two competitors are high-fliers in the world of sheep shearing having both achieved a number of shearing honours over the years. Gareth, from Penegoes, near Machynlleth in Wales, took up shearing aged 20 as he realised this was his passport to New Zealand. Initially taught by family members, he first travelled to New Zealand to shear in 2004 returning many times in recent years. Today, with his fiancé and two daughters, he is a beef and sheep farmer and contract shearer.

His partner in this shearing record attempt is fellow farmer Ian Jones, from Hundred House near Builth Wells. Ian manages a flock of predominantly Beulah Speckled Face sheep and finishes store calves at the home farm with his wife and two daughters. At 17, Ian was taught to shear by his Uncle before attending a number of BWMB shearing courses and travelling to New Zealand to shear on many occasions.

Gareth and Ian’s British record attempt is being actively supported by the BWMB which currently represents over 40,000 wool producers in the UK. The Board is keen to encourage the next generation to learn and develop their shearing skills and believe that a challenge of this type provides a perfect platform to raise the profile of a vital industry skill.

BWMB Chairman Ian Buchanan said: “Record attempts such as Gareth and Ian’s are hugely important to the wool industry. Not only do they highlight the highly skilled individuals that are driving the industry forward, they also help promote the quality of British wool to a wider audience.”

The duo are currently busy preparing for their record attempt with both Gareth and Ian carrying out contract shearing work. No strangers to competitive shearing, they recently competed in the Open Shearing Competition Final at the Three Counties Show in Malvern with Ian finishing in third place, closely followed by Gareth in fourth. The pair were also part of the Welsh team who participated in the Six Nations Shearing Competition held at the Royal Bath and West Show, where the team came second overall.

Individually, Gareth has been awarded Champion Shearer of Wales three times and represented Wales at four World Shearing Championships. His proudest moment was however winning the Open Championship at Corwen Shears being the first Welsh winner, and only the second UK winner of this competition. More recently, Gareth won the All Ireland International Shearing Competition at Tullynally Estate in Ireland.

Ian has championed the Welsh Lamb Shearing Circuit four times with one of his most memorable achievements winning the French Open Shearing Championships in August last year.

Bedwyr Jones, BWMB Welsh Northern Board Member, commented: “We’re delighted to be supporting Gareth and Ian to help them achieve their goal of setting the Nine Hour Two Stand British Lamb Shearing Record

“These record attempts provide an excellent opportunity for up and coming young shearers to watch and meet with highly skilled individuals who are passionate about both the sheep they shear and wool industry as a whole. I would like to wish both Gareth and Ian the best of luck with their joint record attempt.”

Training provided by the BWMB sees approximately 1,000 people attend shearing courses each year. Both Gareth and Ian have attended BWMB shearing courses and have endorsed the importance of these, no matter what level you are at. Ian says: “These courses are important as they provide both young shearers with the opportunity to learn and further develop their skills.”

Bedwyr Jones added: “The BWMB is actively trying to raise the profile of British wool and shearing offering courses throughout the UK to give shearers of any age and ability the opportunity to learn new skills and to brush up and improve on current skills.”