Become a part of life’s rich tapestry

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Stitchers will tell the story of the Highlands and Islands in warp, weft and wool in a new tapestry a third the size of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, to adorn the walls of Inverness Castle’s £18million refurb.

The Tapestry of the Highlands will be a chronological history of Scotland’s north and west, told in 52 tapestry panels stitched by local volunteers.

The finished artwork will be exhibited at venues throughout the area, before finding its permanent home in the transformed Inverness Castle as part of the Spirit of the Highlands exhibition.

The hanging will be developed, designed and delivered over the next two years by The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ltd, the team behind the successful Great Tapestry of Scotland artwork.

This huge embroidered tapestry (over 140 metres long) was embroidered by 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland, over 50,000 sewing hours. It is made up of 160 linen panels, and 300 miles of wool – enough to stretch the entire length of Scotland.

More than 360,000 visitors came to see it as it toured the country, and it now sits in a bespoke new visitor centre in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.

The Tapestry of the Highlands & Islands will also be a huge community arts project, involving story contributors and stitchers throughout the region.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ltd will develop, design and deliver a Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands within the next two years.

Tourism minister Ivan McKee said: ‘A tapestry is an exciting medium for bringing to life the rich and remarkable history of the Highlands and Islands. The project is also a chance to unite communities as they stitch together their stories of the past into our present, leaving a valuable legacy for the future.’

Fergus Ewing MSP, co-chairperson of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands delivery group said: ‘This is a really exciting part of the project, engaging people from all walks of life throughout the Highlands and Islands in telling the story of their lives and their land.

‘We have been able to extend the reach of the Spirit of the Highlands project across the Highlands and Islands area – so important for the tourism and creative sectors during this period of recovery from the pandemic.

‘The stories of our communities throughout the area will encourage people from this country and beyond to explore the spectacular places and communities in this part of the world, discovering all that it has to offer.’

Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness, and co-chairperson of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands delivery group said: ‘Through the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands we will tell the story of the area, ensuring that people have the opportunity to decide what stories appear from their particular area. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to get involved in this project. I’m really excited to see the panels.’