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PICTURES: South Loch Ness knitting group's great stitch-up produces 3300 poppies for Remembrance Sunday display at Stratherrick War Memorial


By Alasdair Fraser

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The beautiful poppy display at Stratherrick War Memorial
The beautiful poppy display at Stratherrick War Memorial

A tenacious team of Inverness-shire knitters have stitched together a stunning Remembrance Sunday poppy display at a war memorial south of Loch Ness.

Starting the needle work in February this year, the stitchers from Stratherrick spent months knitting and crocheting more than 3300 poppies to adorn the First and Second World War memorial between Errogie and Gorthleck.

Since it was unfurled, the work has drawn an enthusiastic response from local admirers thrilled at how beautifully the much-loved landmark has been decorated for November 12.

The knittinbg group, hard at work
The knittinbg group, hard at work

The monument carries the names of local people who were among the fallen in both world wars.

Standing alone in a wild and picturesque setting by the B862, the Stratherrick War Memorial offers a peaceful and poignant spot for remembrance.

From tonight, the display will be lit up by a lighting specialist who will aim to use a strobe effect to give the impression that the poppies are falling from the sky.

Lyn Woods, of Whitebridge, who runs a series of workshops under the Wild Crafts banner, based at the Wildside community hall, explained how it all came together.

The group adding the final touches.
The group adding the final touches.
Mrs Lyn Woods helps to position the poppy netting at Stratherrick War Memorial
Mrs Lyn Woods helps to position the poppy netting at Stratherrick War Memorial
The rock on which the obelisk stands was decorated as well.
The rock on which the obelisk stands was decorated as well.

“The girls in our group live in fear of me saying ‘I was thinking ..’ or ‘I’ve had an idea…!',” she said.

“And in February I said I would like to do something for the war memorial, saying 'how about knitting or crocheting poppies?' They gave me a hesitant ‘okay’.

“There are now about 3300 the group has made. One member did about 600, but they have all done hundreds. It has been a magnificent effort by everyone – just wonderful.

“In October, I got the garden netting out and as we started adding the poppies to it, and they began to see what we were working towards – and I think I was forgiven, then!

A precarious task, fixing the poppy netting to the memorial
A precarious task, fixing the poppy netting to the memorial
Some of the poppy designs
Some of the poppy designs

“Now they have seen it placed on the war memorial and the large rock it stands upon, they are so proud.”

The group actually undertakes sewing and spinning classes on alternate Tuesdays, with knitting members having joined from a past group that folded.

“It is the first time we have done something like this, as a group, for remembrance day.

“It is quite striking and in a lovely setting. We had difficulties gauging how tall it was and we were a little bit short and had to add more to it.

How Stratherrick war Memorial usually looks
How Stratherrick war Memorial usually looks

“A friend of the group Calum Martin is an expert at lighting and is going to illuminate the monument for us.

“The idea is to have a strobe light on it, so that it looks like the poppies are falling. The lights will be set up this evening (Friday), so it will be lit up on Saturday and Sunday and we’ll take the poppies down on Tuesday.

“The reaction locally has been absolutely amazing – I’ve never seen so many positive comments on a group project.”


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