By Eilidh Whiteford
Scotland has a new official tartan, one that celebrates the magnifi cence of Lews Castle and shows off the traditions and colours of the Western Isles.
The 'Caisteal Leodhais' (Lews Castle) tartan is the latest creation from Kathleen Ferdinando of Stornoway-based tailors Celtic Clothing.
“I'd been wanting to design a tartan related to the Castle for some time now,” she said. “And when we heard that the Castle was to be refurbished, well, there was no better time to get started on the design.”
The beautiful new tartan, of clean and bright design, combines a number of components of island life and traditions – the purple and green background plaid revealing the hues and shades of the Lewis and Harris landscapes.
Detail within the Caisteal Leodhais tartan contains black weave to represent the traditional peat cutting of the islands, while a complementary brown highlights the Harris Tweed industry and reflects the warm brown stone of Lews Castle.
And a splash of brightness leaps from the new material, with a light blue contained to represent Stornoway Harbour and a golden yellow thread within the plaid displaying Lews Castle's regal air.
With Caisteal Leodhais officially registered under its Gaelic name and fully protected for production, Kathleen and her expert team at Celtic Clothing on Bayhead are now looking forward to the first time it is worn by a wedding party at the newly opened Lews Castle.
“We've already supplied all the staff at the Castle with ties made from the new tartan and we're going to introduce Caisteal Leodhais kilts to our hire department,” said Kathleen.
“This means anyone getting married at Lews Castle can get married in the Castle's own tartan – we think that's a great opportunity and can't wait to see the first wedding party decked out in Caisteal Leodhais at the very Castle which inspired it.”
The Stornoway-based business will also be making souvenir items from the Lews Castle tartan, as well as the new material being available to purchase for made-to-measure clothing.
Caisteal Leodhais is a new development in the history of Celtic Clothing, which Kathleen established in 1998.
Trained at Campbell's of Beauly, Highland Tweed House, Kathleen has nearly 40 years tailoring experience. The shop's kilt hire department carries the largest selection of hire kilts in Scotland; and as the company has grown and developed, the Bayhead store now stocks a plethora of tweed items, from full kilt outfi ts to jackets, waistcoats and fashion ladies coats, gloves, scarves, men's fl at caps and ties to a range of complementary jewellery and quality Scottish themed gifts.
“Celtic Clothing has developed over the years and we're much more than just kilt hire,” said Kathleen. “Each kilt we make is hand-stitched, carefully crafted to the individual with mathematical precision, and we pride ourselves on the quality and value of our products.
She added: “We would like to thank all of our customers who have supported us over the years, and we look forward to seeing many old faces, and new, again in the future.”
To find out more about Caisteal Leodhais, as well as the large range available at Celtic Clothing, visit the Bayhead shop or online at www.celticclothing.co.uk