The Isle of Harris is located off the North West coast of Scotland. During the Summer months it has magical white sandy beaches with turquoise blue waters, that would look more at home in the Caribbean. For more information on the isles of Harris and Lewis please see “Incredible Beaches on the Scottish Island of Harris and Lewis” and “What to see and do on the Isle of Harris and Lewis”.
The Harris Tweed of Scotland
The islands still hold many traditions, one of my favourites being that of the hardwearing woven Harris Tweed of Scotland.
History of the Harris Tweed
The tradition dates back centuries from when the islanders from Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra wove as a past time and the woven fabric was used on the croft and some sold at local markets. Then in 1846 Lady Dunmore set about having the family tartan replicated in Harris Tweed. Then the rest as they say is history.
The making of the Harris Tweed
Did you know that the Harris Tweed is not produced in a factory but by lots of skilled Harris Tweed Weavers throughout the islands. Over the years with either economy or skilled crafts people retiring there was a shortage of Harris Tweed Weavers. Just a few years ago an initiative took place to get individuals trained in this highly skilled craft. What a vigorous process it is too! Even after training, your work is given a once over for your first year before given the seal of approval and being sold. There after quality checks still takes place to ensure the high quality of the Harris Tweed continues.
Did you know that the loom has hundreds of needles to thread before the actual weaving can take place. The setting up process can take up to an hour or sometimes more, then the hard work begins. Now understanding the amount of skill required and the lengthy time it takes to produce Harris Tweed it is well worth the investment!
Visiting a Harris Tweed Weaver
While visiting the Outer Hebridean Islands don’t miss the opportunity of witnessing the Harris Tweed being woven. It gives a great insight to this skilled traditional craft. Contact: [email protected]
There are some lovely products available at the Harris Tweed Isle of Harris centre.
Or do you fancy making something unique? Visit the Lewis Loom Centre just off the main street in Stornoway for a great selection of Harris Tweed fabric and off cuts.
At this time of year in Scotland with the strong minus degree winds, fluttering’s of snow it is nice to be wrapped up in doors with the warmth of a raring fire and Harris Tweed throw. If traveling here are some great tips to pack light and stay warm this winter.
While visiting mainland Scotland don’t miss the opportunity to visit these incredible islands and stay in some of Scotland’s unique accommodation, such as an eco friendly hobbit house. Local transport on the islands is available, however I would recommend either a car hire or small campervan rental that can give you so much more flexibility and freedom to experience the lovely scenery, heritage and culture of the Hebridean Islands. Happy Travels:) x
Thank you to the Lewis Loom Centre and A Harris Tweed Weaver for allowing me to take photographs and give me a great insight to the craft. As well as a big thank you to Mr John A. Lacey, Horn Carver for the unique Horn Carved button.