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Harris Tweed gifts cut from the same cloth in Inverness


By Ian Duncan

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From left, Rhea Prior, Shop Manager Annabel Campbell and Joanna McCormick of the Harris Tweed Isle of Harris shop.
From left, Rhea Prior, Shop Manager Annabel Campbell and Joanna McCormick of the Harris Tweed Isle of Harris shop.

Visitors to Inverness and the Highlands will normally want to take back the perfect souvenir to take back home to remind them of their trip.

The city is a popular destination for visitors – particularly with tourists from the UK following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Inverness BID manager Mike Smith said the economic success story of Inverness in recent years, as well as the subsequent growth in tourism, brought in income for both the retail and hospitality sectors.

He added: “Although this growth has been tremendous it is good to know that two of the three businesses started in their home towns and have expanded to have retail outlets in Inverness because of that growth in tourism.”

Harris Tweed Isle of Harris, in Inglis Street, is one of those businesses which opened in the Highland capital in April 2017 and is a family-run operation.

Knitwear and tweed are the continuation of a family tradition – the original tweed and knitwear shop was located in Plocrapool, a small crofting village on the Isle of Harris, which was, and still is, home to the Campbell family.

Annabel Campbell, the Inverness shop manager, said her grandparents were Harris Tweed weavers on the island but they were now more of a retail operation. She added: “We don’t manufacture things – it’s just buying and selling these days.”

She said she was already living in the Inverness area and it made sense to open a shop in the city. She said: “Normality we get tourists but during the wintertime we see a lot more locals so it is 50:50.”

They sell a lot of items made from the fabric by crafts people, including purses, as well as items of clothing. Miss Campbell said: “We’ve got a big range of handbags and they are most popular.”

The first thing most people think of when you mention Harris Tweed is a jacket and she said: “We sell quite a lot of jackets as well. I think what people like about Harris Tweed is it’s handwoven. It is protected by its own act of parliament.”

According to the act the cloth must be: “Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

Miss Campbell reopened the shop on July 15 and she said customers were pleased to see her back. She added: “As the weeks went on August was busiest and it was more consistent. I think everyone is trying their best.”

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