Your tour begins in Edinburgh Airport with a transfer to your hotel (for arrivals prior to 11am). At 1pm, meet at Hotel reception and begin your sightseeing with a panoramic tour of Edinburgh City. Visit Edinburgh Castle which stands majestically upon the basalt core of an extinct volcano. Continue on to an introductory talk on Scottish Textiles with Scottish Textiles expert Kitty Bruce-Gardyne. Return to your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight. Overnight in Edinburgh, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included
Day 2: Tin Can Knits Workshop & New Lanark
After breakfast we meet Emily from Tin Can Knits for a knitting workshop with Emily Wessel centring on Fair Isle style colourwork blending, during which time you learn the intricacies of stranded colourwork and begin your own small project using one of Tin Can Knit's trademark patterns. After your class we travel to New Lanark Mill, a unique 18th century mill and UNESCO heritage site. Overnight in New Lanark, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 3: New Lanark World Heritage Site & Sanquhar Knitting Demonstration
After breakfast you will have more time to explore New Lanark, learning more about its history. The mill was founded in 1786 and taken over in 1800 by Robert Owen, an influential social reformer. In Owen's time over 2,500 people lived and worked at New Lanark, many from the poorhouses of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Owen improved the lives of these workers by introducing previously unheard of social welfare programmes and a school for the children. Today, visitors can see recreated millworkers’ homes, historic functioning machinery and the adjacent ‘Falls of Clyde’ waterfalls.
After time to explore the site, we travel to the small village of Sanquhar which is famous for a traditional geometric-style pattern named after its founding village. After lunch (included) we will visit the A’ The Airts Centre for a presentation on the traditional Sanquhar pattern. You will enjoy a demonstration of hand-knitting of Sanquhar Gloves and see how the pattern is made on their knitting machines. After your visit continue to Glasgow where the remainder of your evening will be free for personal sightseeing or shopping. Overnight in Glasgow, Bed & Breakfast included.
Today we will spend a leisurely morning sightseeing around Glasgow. We will start by visiting the Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel, an award winning museum which displays more than 300 objects that tell a story of Glasgow’s past, from vintage cars to prams and even powerful locomotives! One of the highlights of the museum is to walk down an old cobbled Glasgow street with recreated shops dating from 1895 to the 1980s. We will see George’s Square with its ornate city chambers and pay a visit to Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest buildings which dates from 1471. The afternoon is free for personal sightseeing or shopping or you can simply return to your hotel and relax if you wish.
The names and addresses of Glasgow’s main knitting shops will be featured in your itinerary so that you can visit if you feel like it. Some recommendations will include the Queen of Purls & the Yarn Cake! Alternatively, you can take an optional tour to Paisley which is famous the Paisley Shawl which was produced here in droves up until the 19th century. Overnight in Glasgow, Bed & Breakfast included.
Day 5: Waulking with Wool at Auchindrain & Loch Lomond
Today we make our way to Auchindrain along the shores of Loch Lomond, stopping along the way to admire the views and take some photographs of the stunning scenery. On arrival in Auchindrain we will visit the Auchindrain Township which gives a taste of what life was once like in the Scottish Highlands. Discover the byres, stables and fields to understand how groups of families would have once worked the common lands. At Auchindrain we will also meet the group locally known as ‘Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh’ which translates to the ‘Inverclyde Waulking Group. Waulking is a method of finishing newly woven tweed by soaking and thumping it steadily to shrink and soften it.
The group sings Waulking Songs as they work! Following lunch at Auchindrain, time permitting, there will be some free time in the village of Inveraray which has an 18th Century Castle and the interesting Inveraray Jail Museum. Continue to Oban and check into your hotel for the night. Overnight in Oban, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 6: The Highland Folk Museum & Speyside Distillery
Today we make our way to Elgin from Oban, stopping along the way at the Highland Folk Museum and one of Speyside’s famous distilleries. The Highland Folk Museum gives visitors a sense of how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up until the 1960s. Your tour will pay special attention to traditional crafts like spinning, knitting and weaving and you will enjoy a special textile talk from the museum’s curator.
Following your visit and free time for lunch travel onward to a distillery tour and whisky tasting. The tour offers you a sensory introduction to the entire process of whisky-making in a historic distillery and enjoy a whisky tasting before you leave! Continue to Elgin and check into your hotel. Overnight in Elgin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 7: Knitting Workshop with Sarah Berry & Johnstons of Elgin Mill Tour
We start the day by meeting with Sarah Berry (ERIBE for April departures) for a half day workshop on the topic of Fair Isle Knitting with naturally-dyed yarn. Sarah will introduce stranded-knitting techniques, whilst those with more experience would be able to design a repeating border pattern and knit up a sample with plant-dyed yarn. After lunch we will take a Tour of Johnston’s Mill. Johnston’s of Elgin have proudly been making the finest cashmere clothing, accessories and fabric in Scotland since 1797. They are now the last operating vertical mill in Scotland which means all processes are done on site.
Watch for yourself as the cashmere is dyed, teased, carded, spun and hand finished by the latest generation of Elgin craftsmen. For those not interested in the mill tour or the knitting workshop there is lots to see in the town of Elgin including the ruins of Elgin cathedral and Britain’s oldest museum, the Elgin Museum. Overnight in Elgin, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Today we make our way from Elgin to Dundee, stopping for lunch along the way and en route to Dundee a stop in the coastal town of Stonehaven with its own sandy seafront and picture perfect harbour. While here enjoy a visit to Baa! A knitting, crochet and fibre hub that stocks a selection of yarns from some of the best producers, independent spinners, dyers, designers and artisans from the UK and beyond. This afternoon before checking into your hotel we will pay a visit to Verdant Works in Dundee. Verdant Works is a world-class visitor attraction which tells the story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage in the impressive setting of a beautifully restored Mill building. Listen to the stories of the mill workers, see how they lived and worked in an industry which enveloped Dundee. Continue onto the V&A Design Gallery.
The V&A Dundee is Scotland’s first dedicated design museum and the Design Gallery features more than 300 exhibits from all over Scotland. After your visit, continue to your hotel and check in. Overnight in Dundee, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast Included.
Day 9: Kinaldy Farm in St. Andrew's & Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
We start our day with a visit to Kinaldy Farm in St. Andrew's! Visit a real working farm to see their livestock in a natural environment. Get up close to Aberdeen Angus Cattle, view Pedigree Sheep, meet working sheep dogs and see them in action. Walk the Alpacas and experience seasonal activities throughout the year from lambing to the trimming of fleeces. After your visit we continue to Di Gilpins for a knitting workshop. Di will start the programme with a short presentation on the History of Gansey Knitting in Scotland. This will be supported with samples of both traditional pieces and the more contemporary designs from their studio.
Next follows a workshop exploring different gansey patterns in either Blanket Squares or a long sampler. Continue to Edinburgh and check into your hotel and relax before this evening’s final farewell dinner. Overnight in Edinburgh, Dinner, Bed & Breakfast.