Review of Scottish Kiltmaker’s Exhibition
This is probably the only place where you can see a kilt being made and visit an exhibition devoted to the whole topic.
Distance from Fraoch Lodge: approx 30 miles
Accessible by public transport:
Yes – the exhibition is easy walking distance from both the bus and train terminals in Inverness. Local buses do run from Boat of Garten to the main bus depot in Inverness without change or you can use a bus/train combination to get to Inverness from Fraoch Lodge
About the exhibition
The exhibition is very small but interesting nonetheless. There is probably the most extensive collection of tartan samples you’ll ever see in one section. All the samples are labelled with the clan to which they are associated. Some you’ve probably never heard of or seen before, but they come in all shades of the rainbow. You’ll probably find one to suit your taste in the colour spectrum, even if your family is not associated with the clan.
You can also work your way around the sections of models displaying full Highland dress. These have all been acquired or donated to the exhibition; from military dress to the outfit worn in Braveheart.
There’s also a brief film including snippets from a couple of Carry On films showing the world-wide influence of tartan and the kilt in music and film as well as on Scotland as a whole. It also details how the kilt is made and shows the qualified kiltmakers at work in all stages of making a kilt. What I didn’t realise before visiting the exhibition is that every stage of these kilts is made by hand.
If you visit on a weekday, you’ll also get to see the kiltmakers as work. It’s basically a wee cottage industry in a large room upstairs from the shop. You need space to make a kilt due to the length of tartan which has to be measured out.
The whole visit is unlikely to take more than an hour, but will provide you with a talking point at the end of the day and some fascinating information to take home with you. It makes for part of a great day out if you’re trying to think of something to do on your “day off” in the middle of one of our Cairngorm walking holidays.
Here’s a question to consider: how many sheep’s fleeces would it take to make one kilt?