Soay Sheep

Ark of taste
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The Soay sheep is a breed of domestic sheep on the Soay Island, part of the St. Kilda Archipelago This Archipelago is located west from the Western Isles of Scotland, and about 200 kilometers from the mainland.

The sheep is small, brown to black coloured, with short tails and a single pair of horns.
Soays have been introduced to the British Isles between the Neolithic and the Iron Age periods. They are considered as relics of unchanged breeds. Its name derives from the island’s name in the St Kilda group but in Old Norse language, the word Seyðoy means ‘sheep island’. It was described for the first time in the late seventeenth century by a traveller to western Scotland, Martin Martin. Nowadays, there are only between 900 and 1500 registered breeding Soay ewes. The breed is becoming smaller because of the change in climate.

The meat from the Soay sheep is considered as lean, tender and low in cholesterol. It has a stronger flavour with a gamey taste when compared to more common sheep breeds.

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StateUnited Kingdom

Scotland - The Isles

Production area:Soay Island, St. Kilda Archipelago

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Breeds and animal husbandry

Nominated by:Alessio Frassetto