When Jane and I started winchin’ (an old Ayrshire term for dating), we discovered a shared passion for the great outdoors. Working in the same office for the city council, we were confined to a bleak, un-inspiring tower block in Glasgow, now demolished. Craving an escape to the country we would spend hours each evening researching manageable walks into the wilds of Scotland. WalkHighlands proved to be valuable tool in planning our adventures, with walk reports from real people, it helped inform our choice of trails. Both Jane & I were suffering from physical conditions, exacerbated by sitting in front of computer spreadsheets, so the going had to be fairly easy to begin with.
For our first joint expedition we decided on a bit of a yomp around the hills of Glen Afton, an area I’m familiar with having hiked around here with the Boy’s Brigade as a youngster. The walk took in Blacklorg Hill and Blackcraig Hill, both Donalds (hills in Scotland exceeding 2000ft). Parking up just shy of the Afton Dam, we strapped on the boots and headed off for a windy, yet mild day in the hills with our good pal Sam (aka Senior). Total distance walked was about 9km, first tackling the Eastern flank of Blacklorg Hill to the summit of 681 metres, then “running” down the Northern ridge to the wee col at 532 metres and up the Southern edge of Blackcraig to the summit cairn and trig point at 700 metres. We picked our way down the steeper Eastern side of Blackcraig to return to the road and back the car. All in all, it was a really simple walk with only a few boggy patches and the wee Craig burn to negotiate at the end.
This was the start of our joint love affair with Scotland’s hills and glens. Our travels have since taken us to majestic locations all around the country, often being magnetically drawn to the quietest, most remote and less obvious destinations to get away from it all and seek inspiration to inform our work.
When you realise just how easy it is to uncover Scotland’s hidden gems within such a short radius from our home base it’s difficult to imagine going anywhere else.
With an Ordnance Survey map in hand, we plan to navigate through stunning landscapes but sometimes fall short of our intended destination, instead captivated by a view, a geological outcrop, a forest walk, a shapely hill, or an abandoned croft house we simply stop and absorb.
However, one thing that failed to live up to expectations was the offering in the many gift shops throughout Scotland. The plethora of stuffed “Nessies”, Hairy Haggis and See You Jimmy bunnets (all mass produced in Asia) really doesn't portray our experiences of Scotland and only serve to perpetuate the myth that Scotland and it’s people live a ‘Shortbread Tin’ tartan existence, chasing legendary creatures around the land in our kilts!
Our designs act as a reminder of the remote, rugged, adventurous and wild experiences. Making your home a wee bit brighter, but at the same time prompting you to plan your next expedition to get outside.
Now, take another look at our textile designs, and you’ll perhaps have a wee insight into why we make what we make.