Harris Heaven

This month, WeeBox takes you on a journey to the heart of the Outer Hebrides!

The Isle Of Harris provides a truly stunning exploration of people, place, rich traditions, magnificent scenery and the most beautiful beaches in the UK. This month’s WeeBox hopes to take you on that journey evoking memories through touch, taste and smell.

WeeBox travelled to the Isle Of Harris to explore its local producers, meet its people and share the experience with you. Journeying over the choppy water on CalMac Ferries from Skye to the popular town of Tarbert, what struck us was the incredible hospitality of the people of Harris, keen to tell us of the sights we must visit!

As you arrive by sea, the first thing that strikes you at the head of the harbour is the stunning Isle Of Harris Distillery – beautiful, white, almost church-like, the first distillery in Harris is now creating ‘true island spirit’. Opened in 2015, the distillery provides the warmest of welcomes with a peat fire and the most delicious scones we have ever tasted. The concept of the distillery grew from the realisation that the island’s natural assets could best be harnessed to help the economy and bring this special place to the attention of a wider audience. From here, they gave us Scotland’s first gin from the Western Isles! And the magic ingredient is sugar kelp, hand-dived from the underwater forests all around the island. The gin comes four years ahead of the distillery’s main product – a £400-a-bottle single malt whisky which is to be named ‘The Hearach’ – the Gaelic word for an inhabitant of Harris.

The gin has been so popular that the distillery had to announce The Great Harris Drought of 2016 – meaning customers were only able to purchase a limited number of Batch No.1 gin! As WeeBox can’t ship you gin, we have brought you the next best thing ….. ‘Isle Of Harris Gin Tea’! Using the unique Harris Gin botanicals, taste this perfect tea blend like no other. We think it has a gingerbread quality, but will let you decide …..

When you think of Harris, you can’t help but think of Harris Tweed and the iconic ‘orb’ mark! Described as the ‘champagne of fabrics’ and the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament, Harris Tweed is a way of life and a tradition. Located next to the Harris Distillery, the Harris Tweed Isle Of Harris shop is a haven for shoppers with a wide collection of tweeds inspired by the land and seascapes. Hand-twisted for each order, washed and then dried in the Hebridean sunshine – the Harris Tweed Isle Of Harris shop is a family tradition. WeeBox had the honour of meeting the team behind the tradition and have brought our subscribers a beautiful and exclusive Harris Tweed keyring – not available anywhere other than on the island! A piece of true Hebridean heritage.

WeeBox was fortunate enough to have stayed with a local island crofter, in the small village of Govig. He taught us, through his own, very personal stories, that the land inspired the colours and design of Harris Tweed and shared his own family story of being the last to leave the now uninhabited island of Scarp, just off the coast of Harris. Indeed, his brother was featured in the peerless body of work by Ian Lawson ‘From the Land Comes the Cloth’ which we highly recommend – stunning imagery, deeply personal narrative and brings this remote island closer to you.

Boasting the most beautiful beaches in the UK, Harris did not disappoint. The aqua blue of the water, the white, pure sand and huge expanse must be seen to be believed. What better way to evoke the experience through the sense of smell, with luxury Gold Hart candles. Not yet available to the public, this special exclusive ‘Shore’ reminds us of our ramble along a deserted Harris beach, the sea spray permeating the air with salt as a storm approaches. We know you will love the scent and distinctive packaging as much as we do!

An island of surprises, Harris did not disappoint. Indeed, on our drive to the croft in Govig we stumbled upon a fairytale castle, driving through its grounds to get to our destination! The picturesque Amhuinnsuidhe Castle is set in magical surroundings and even hosts shooting parties and other events throughout the year, so you too can live the royal life! But of course, if you do visit, you need to know what to wear …. ladies highland dress, when to wear brogues, or a sporran, and when to wear a dirk belt? Our magic wee book this month ‘Tartans & Highland Dress’ will navigate you through – a special heritage item to share with the next generation.

We hope you too can visit the Isle of Harris and our WeeBox journey will stay forever in our hearts