Two Welsh sheep shearers will be going against the clock next month as they aim to set a British record for shearing as many lambs as possible in nine hours.
Working in tandem 33-year-old Gareth Daniel and 36-year-old Ian Jones, supported by the British Wool Marketing Board, will attempt the feat at the Llysfasi Agricultural College, Ruthin, Denbighshire, on Friday, August 19.
Both 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, Powys, 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.
Fellow farmer Ian Jones, from Hundred House, Builth Wells, Powys, manages a flock of predominantly Beulah Speckled Face sheep and finishes store calves at the home farm with his wife and two daughters.
He was taught to shear by his uncle at the age of 17 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 board 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 believes 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 winning the Open Championship at Corwen Shears being the first Welsh winner, and only the second UK winner of this competition. More recently, he won the All Ireland International Shearing Competition at the 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.