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Students design new Black Isle tartan mill

By Nicole Webber

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Prickly Thistle
Prickly Thistle

THE Highlands’ first tartan weaving mill of modern times has been designed by students at Inverness College UHI.

Clare Campbell, founder of tartan design studio Prickly Thistle, challenged students studying the university’s BSc (Hons) architectural technology to come up with plans to convert her disused farm steading on the Black Isle into a mill which celebrates her vision and the heritage of the Highlands.

Final year students on the course were split into four clans and each created designs and plans ready for Highland Council approval.

The students visited the site, developed concepts and met Ms Campbell and her client team.

The bespoke designer chose a sympathetic design which celebrates the rich fabric of the Highlands but also aligns with her rebellious character.

Students Rory MacFarlane, Martyn Donaldson, Andrew Maggs, Stuart Miller and Ryan Nelson created the winning design.

The plans will now be submitted to Highland Council for full planning permission and building warrant consent.

The building will be given a contemporary feel while retaining some of the original features, like the polished cobbled floor, which will be insulated and immersed in a smooth polished clear finish.

Ms Campbell was delighted with the plans.

"They came up with truly innovative solutions that we would never have envisaged at the outset – it’s fantastic that this resource is available in our local university," she said.

Clare launched a successful Build the Mill crowdfunding campaign in early 2018 to help bring the students’ design to reality and at the same time bring tartan weaving back to its traditional Highland home.

She has since secured a temporary pop-up mill for the in-house manufacturing of her bespoke tartan, while the development of the farm steading takes place.

She intends to continue raising the remainder of the £250,000 needed to complete the project once full planning consent has been achieved. The mill could be fully operational by January 2020.

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