Torrisdale Castle

The Tannery

Located in the former laundry building on the Torrisdale Castle Estate, the Torrisdale Tannery specialises in the production of naturally coloured sheepskins and deer skins using an ancient tanning method that produces a superior skin.

The odour-free tanning method uses only organic materials, tree bark, salt and water, abandoned elsewhere in favour of modern chemical and machine methods in a desire for speed and quantity in the tanning process.

All tanning is done by hand and as a result, our rugs take longer to prepare, and are thought to be unique to Scotland. The skins show a wide range of natural colours, with the length and type of wool attractively varied, depending on the breed and age of sheep with no clipping out of wools or bleaching of whites.

Provenance is important, and the sheep skins are almost all from the local farm, and the deer are brought in by local stalkers.

All our rugs are fully washable, and we advise that you frequently clean them to maintain their original luxurious look.

We also produce beautiful baby rugs, perfect for little ones as these as they are tanned without the use of dangerous chemicals. Cats, as well as babies, are catered for with cat mats in all shapes and sizes for the discerning cat!

How we Tan

The process of producing a finished rug from a raw sheepskin is a lengthy one, using traditional organic methods.

First the skin is cleaned with a sharp knife, after which it is thoroughly washed.

2. The tanning liquid in which it is then immersed is a solution of tree bark, salt and water, which then changes the skin into good leather. It must be moved frequently over a period of weeks to ensure an even tan.

3. After this it is washed many times to remove all traces of salt, then pegged out on a frame to dry naturally.

4. Brushing out the wool is the final operation, which can take several hours, but the end result is a sheepskin with a finish that is beautifully tactile and luxurious.
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