Did you know that despite the fact that the Highlands are practically synonymous with tartan and weaving, there are no weaving mills in the Highlands? As many of you know, I am descended from a highland weaver - John MacKenzie of Inverness. So naturally, a mission to bring weaving back to the Highlands is an important one to me. Enter Clare Campbell.
I recently met Clare (I borrowed the photo above from her website), who owns the business Prickly Thistle. Clare is a sweet, soft spoken woman whose quiet demeanor leaves you unprepared for the wealth of knowledge and determination beneath the surface. I was staying with my friend Pauline up on the northeast coast when we saw Clare on STV news, speaking about her mission to open a weaving mill in the Highlands. I said "I want to meet this woman!" I found her business on Facebook and within the evening had arranged a coffee date for later that week.
We met for coffee, (Clare bought us sweets, so naturally we were instant friends.) Clare knows her stuff. She is an accountant, a designer, a board member for the Scottish Register of Tartans...just to scratch the surface. Every time she opened her mouth I gained new respect and admiration. After chatting over coffee, we all drove over to Clare's house on the Black Isle - behind which sits the gorgeous structure that is to become the mill. The mill has a gorgeous view across the Cromarty Firth (a firth is an estuary - inlet of the sea.) My photo below is only one side of the U shaped building.
Clare's is a message of rebellion (speaking my language!), and defiance against the Act of Proscription. This act of Parliament made it illegal to wear Highland dress from 1746 -1782. I don't want this post to get too lengthy so I'm going to go ahead and let Clare take it from here...head on over to her campaign site and read about her mission for yourself, and please please please help soon if you can! I believe in her, as do so many others (including Sam Heughan who has repeatedly voiced his support on Twitter.)
Thanks for reading!