Three years ago I went on a CraftLit tour to London, Bath and Wales with Heather Ordover and 24 other fiber/literature enthusiasts and had a wonderful time. See my video of that tour here. Being a fiber, yarn and wool hog, I wanted another tour to explore even more of the UK and learn about the origins of some of the fibers I so love.
Doing some internet research last year, I found Joyce James and her tour into Scotland and the Shetland islands (the outer islands north of the mainland). The Tour I decided on was James' 16th annual one into these fascinating ancient places and is called "Scottish Skeins and Skerries"; you can read all about it here. The group is small (20 people) and was booked up by last December, so I am very happy my reservation was booked last Thanksgiving.
A few facts about the tour:
- Daylight hours will be close to 19 hours a day
- The outermost northern island visited is only about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle
- Glasgow is the origination point in the tour, 8 hr. ahead of MST
- the time frame of the tour is from July 3-22, 2013
- average temperature for July will be from 50-62 degrees F with lots of rain!
In addition to visiting Glasgow and Kilbarchan with its historical Weaver's Cottage restored by the National Trust and nearby Paisley (a textile historical area with shawls, of course), a few places we will visit to the north of the mainland of Scotland will be:
- Scalloway with a museum dedicated to the participants of the Shetland Bus operation during WWII. That operation and a quick history of those fishing boats can be found here.
- visiting a working croft (The Burland Croft)
- the Shetland Guild, including meeting with curator Dr. Carol Christiansen, and the Shetland Museum
- tours of the islands of Unst and Yell, the most northerly islands in the U.K. (we will see the Muckle Flugga Lighthouse
- Orkney Island, where I especially want to see the St. Magnus Cathedral founded in 1137
- the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis and Harris islands. The Hebridean Celtic music Festival will be playing. Look here for more information about that Celtic music festival.
- weaving sheds, crofts, textile dyers, historical experts, (lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! with apologies to the Wizard)
- The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee (excellent!)
- The Shetland Bus (David Howarth) (good history)
- perused A Traveller's History of Scotland (Andrew Fisher)
- Sea Room, An Island Life in the Hebrides (Adam Nicolson) (not finished yet)
- Between Weathers (an excellent suggestion by Annie of the Knitsofacto blog) by McMillen (excellent, also)
- all of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street Series of books (very Edinburgh)
- The House with Green Shutters (George D. Brown) (did not like so much)
- Ann Cleeves series, of which I have read two: Black Raven and White Nights (am now a fan girl of Cleeves)
Oh, and we get to see puffins up close and personal on the tour. Here is a cute picture of a puffin, courtesy of Bing.
I am finishing up a wool sweater I want to take to Scotland and it should be finished today. Pictures of the knitted cardigan tomorrow (if that last cuff gets knit) on Finished Objects Friday.