Textile and Fiber Arts Tour of Scotland is an 11-day adventure that traces Scottish textiles and their indispensable role in the country’s culture. You will be immersed in how craftspeople transform wool into finished products. In Edinburgh, visit the Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition to follow how a tartan is created from start to finish. Learn the collaborative approach to producing modern-day tapestries at Dovecote Studios, where artists, weavers, and commissioners work together to create gorgeous works.
The tour also takes in Lochcarron Mill, the largest maker of traditional tartan; wool shops such as Handspinner Having Fun and Skyeskyns; and a sheepdog demonstration at Leault Farm in Kincraig. In the romantic setting of Inverness, enjoy Johnstons of Elgin, makers of cashmere and fine woolens since 1797, and travel to Loch Ness on a search for that elusive Nessie.
A wealth of Scottish history and culture is also featured on this lively tour. Stops at Edinburgh Castle, Auchindrain Township, the Highland Folk Museum, and the Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles are three of many stops that give insight into yesteryear and the lives of a people for whom textiles are so well-loved.
The tour starts at 6.00pm in the lobby of Jurys Inn Edinburgh on Saturday September 10, and finishes after breakfast at Voco Edinburgh Haymarket in Edinburgh on Tuesday September 20.
Day 1 Sat Sep 10 Arrive Edinburgh
Arrive in Edinburgh and make your own way to the hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner. (D)
Day 2 Sun Sep 11 Edinburgh
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour that meanders along the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Located on the Royal Mile is Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition which occupies the building that was formerly Castle Hill reservoir. The attraction shows the entire process involved in tartan production, from shearing the sheep to making a kilt on working looms. Visit Edinburgh Castle, which stands majestically upon the basalt core of an extinct volcano. In the afternoon, visit Dovecot Studios, a 100-year-old tapestry studio. Dovecot is known for its unique and highly creative collaboration between artist, weaver, and commissioner. The weaver will then interpret, rather than simply translate, a design into a finished textile. (B)
Day 3 Mon Sep 12 Edinburgh
Go on a full-day excursion to the Scottish Borders to take in their rich textile history. You will tour the Schofield Dyers and Finishers, followed by a journey into Selkirk to tour the Lochcarron Mill, the largest mill producing traditional tartan fabric. Return to Edinburgh for overnight. (B, D)
Day 4 Tue Sep 13 Edinburgh-Inverness
Spend the morning at leisure in Edinburgh. This afternoon, depart Edinburgh for Inverness. (B, D)
Day 5 Wed Sep 14 Inverness
After breakfast, take a boat ride on the Loch Ness, which will give you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and look for “Nessie”. Continue to explore the Highlands with a tour and tasting at Glen Ord Distillery. (B, D)
Day 6 Thu Sep 15 Inverness
Today visit Leault Farm in Kincraig to watch a sheepdog demonstration and learn about farming life in Scotland. Then travel on to Elgin to visit the Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere Visitor Center and tour the mill. Johnstons of Elgin has specialized in cashmere and fine woolens since 1797. (B)
Day 7 Fri Sep 16 Inverness-Isle of Skye-Fort William
This morning journey to the Isle of Skye via the Skye Bridge to visit Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles to discover 1500 years of history at the last ancestral home of the MacDonalds of Sleat. Explore beautiful historic gardens with stunning views to the Sound of Sleat and mountains of Knoydart. Experience the romantic castle ruins and learn about Highland history in the award-winning museum. Then enjoy time for shopping at Handspinner Having Fun, a quirky shop on the Isle of Skye, selling all manner of woolly goodies. Take the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig and continue to Fort William for overnight. (B, D)
Day 8 Sat Sep 17 Fort William-Isle of Skye-Fort William
Spend today exploring the many wonders of the 50-mile-long Isle of Skye. Explore the many shops and studios of these gifted folks. One such shop is Skyeskyns, an exclusive family run business creating the world-famous Highland hand-combed fleece, and the Skye Shilasdair Shop, a unique shop specializing in naturally dyed yarns produced by Shilasdair, locally designed garments created by experienced hand knitters, and KnitKits catering to all abilities. Visit the Skye Weavers Workshop, where products are woven on an eclectic mix of bought and purpose-built weaving machinery including a bicycle-pedaled loom. Time permitting, stop by Teo’s Handspun, featuring cashmere and baby alpaca, shiny kid mohair, merino, rustic Gotland, and other unique and wild yarns, all hand-dyed and visit Skye Silver for exclusive Celtic, Scottish, and modern designs in silver and gold. Return to Fort William by the Skye Bridge. (B, D)
Day 9 Sun Sep 18 Fort William-Oban-Fort William
Excursion to Oban with a stop along the way at the Highland Folk Museum in Glencoe. The Highland Folk Museum gives visitors a sense of how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s until the 1960s. Our tour will pay special attention to traditional crafts, such as spinning, knitting, and weaving, plus enjoy a special textile talk from the museum’s curator. (B)
Day 10 Mon Sep 19 Fort William-Edinburgh
Travel to Edinburgh with an en-route stop at the Village of Inveraray, home to an 18th century castle. The next tour stop is Auchindrain Township, which gives a taste of historic rural life in the Scottish Highlands. Discover the byres, stables, and fields to understand how groups of families once worked common lands and meet 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! Continue to Edinburgh and a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 11 Tue Sep 20 Depart Edinburgh
Our tour concludes today after breakfast at the hotel. (B)
Sara Bixler is the owner and resident instructor of Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center in York Haven, Pennsylvania. Her love of travel and different cultures inspire her work and the curriculum offered at Red Stone Glen, set on an idyllic 50-acre property in south central Pennsylvania. There, students enjoy a unique opportunity to study a diverse range of fiber-arts courses, ranging from weaving to tatting. The center also presents informative lectures on relevant topics. Sara has devoted years to experimenting with color in weaving. She has focused on how color relationships are affected by yarn size, luster, sett, and weave structure. She is known for her ability to guide students through the challenging world of color theory, specifically as it relates to weaving. She is passionate about sustainability and the natural world, and that dedication is reflected in her work.
What is included in the tour price?
What is not included in the tour price?
Due to the constant changes in the COVID restrictions worldwide, we highly recommend that passengers wait to purchase air tickets until the following:
1. The tour reaches the minimum number to travel.
2. Prior to the due date of their final payment (three months before departure), we will notify passengers the travel status and the requirements for travel to their destination. At that time they may choose to proceed with the tour or not. If they choose to cancel they may apply their non-refundable deposit to any other Opulent Quilt Journeys Tour within 18 months.
Please note: If passengers purchase tickets and the tour is cancelled or moved to a new date, we are not responsible for any loss regarding their ticket purchase.
Jurys Inn, Edinburgh (3 nights)
Jurys Inn, Inverness (3 night)
Cruachan Hotel, Fort William (3 nights)
Voco Edinburgh Haymarket, Edinburgh (1 night)
For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
877 235 3767
If these dates don’t work for you, register to hear about the next tour.
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