History of the Breed
During the early years of the twentieth century the late Sir Jock Buchanan-Jardine began a breeding programme on his Castlemilk Estate in Dumfriesshire. Using Manx Loghtan, moorit Shetland and wild Mouflon, he developed a breed to beautify his parkland and provide fine, kemp free moorit coloured wool.
On the death of Sir John Buchanan-Jardine in 1970 the majority of the flock was culled and a few dispersed, including six ewes and a ram which were bought by Joe Henson at the Cotswold Farm Park. All today’s Castlemilk Moorits are descended from these few dispersed sheep.
The Castlemilk Moorit is one of the larger of the sheep breeds in the Northern short-tailed primitive group. There is no height or weight limit for the breed but mature ewes typically weigh in the region of 40kgs, and mature rams in the region of 55kgs.
Ewes are always horned and exhibit two uniform and wide spreading horns, the degree of curl of the horns may vary from little to a full semi-circle. The rams have much heavier horns, these should be uniform and may have a single curl facing forward or a second curl flaring out away from the face. The horns must not touch the cheeks.
Both sexes are uniformly moorit (brown) in colour although the actual shade can vary from dark chocolate to mid-brown. The fleece bleaches in the sun often giving an overall colour impression of light brown when fully fleeced. The face colour can vary from dark chocolate to mid-brown but both sexes should have definite mouflon pattern markings to include some white around the eyes, on the lower jaw, belly, knees and inside the lower leg and tail together with a rump patch.
The fleece is tight and even throughout, very soft to the touch with the fibres varying from darker to lighter brown along their length. Staple length is 4 – 7 cm and fleece weight around 1kg. Crimp in the fibres is desirable and is often seen in those sheep with slightly more open fleeces and longer staple length. Kemp in the main fleece is undesirable as is hair, although this is sometimes seen along the backline of mature males.
Both sexes should be upstanding on fine-boned legs with naturally small feet. The overall appearance should be graceful and well-balanced and they are agile and fleet footed.