Solan Goose – Hebridean 2 Ply


Alice Starmore® Hebridean 2 Ply Yarn is made from premium quality pure new British wool, dyed in the fleece and skillfully blended into unique shades. It is hand-washed and dried in the Hebridean air, and supplied in hand-made skeins which may vary in weight. It is priced per 25g at standard conditions. All yarn is weighed to order on balances that are checked daily to ensure that you receive the correct total amount.

Solan Goose is part of the Birds range, which is inspired by birds of the Outer Hebrides.


One form of life which finds the more isolated rocks of the Hebrides a highly agreeable home is the Solan Goose, otherwise known as the Gannet. The female bird lays only one egg a year, and the chick then takes five years to reach breeding age. Despite this, some colonies have managed to grow to over 70,000 pairs which manage to consume about 100 tons of fish daily. One of their main predators in the past has been the human race. Hungry islanders, usually under the threat of imminent starvation, would make perilous raids on their cliffside roosts in order to take eggs and young gannets. Better times led to the decline of the practice, but one community has kept up the tradition. The villagers of Ness in north Lewis take boats once a year to the uninhabited islands of North Rona and Sula Sgeir, which are both major Gannet colonies. They return with both birds and eggs, which are then shared with friends and relatives. The cooked bird is know in Gaelic as a guga, and is regarded as a delicacy. Fortunately, this yearly visitation does not seem to do any lasting damage to the colony as a whole, as can be seen by the numbers visible from the Butt of Lewis.

To watch these birds feeding is a spectacular sight, as they can dive from more than 100 feet straight into the water. At the very last second they fold their wings and strike the surface like an arrowhead, before streaking great distances underwater in a trail of white and gold, followed by silver bubbles.

By the time the Solan Goose reaches adulthood it sports a pale gold head with a startlingly blue eye, atop a creamy body. Our Solan Goose combines these different shades to create an unusual and delicate colour. The base is a rich cream streaked and speckled with honey, gold and clear blue.