By Roz Macaskill
When Maxine Stephenson of Wheatear Textiles is asked “What brought her to Skye?” the answer may come as a surprise.
“I lived in England and I worked in retail,” she explains. “I ended up chasing a shoplifter out into the street, a coat hanger in hand and a security radio in another. I chased them into a telephone box. After that, I moved to Skye for a slower pace of life!”
These days, Maxine can be found working in her studio with her favourite fabric, Harris Tweed. As the owner of Wheatear Textiles in Glendale, she is inspired daily by the changing landscape and seasons – and the inspiration translates into handbags.
Maxine makes a range of different handbags, named after the islands where she has made her home. “I didn't want the bags to have girly names as I'm not a girly girl,” she laughs.
The SkyeSkyns pop-up venue –YURTea&coffee - is open every day until October. starting from Easter with a variety of teas, coffees, cakes and other snacks, including ones baked to suit varying dietary requirements.
Enjoy a cup of artisan coffee whilst sitting on a sheepskin by our wood burning stove inside our seasonal pop-up tea tent YURTea&coffee.
At Floraidh Skye we offer traditional tweed, luxurious cashmere, softest wool and delicate silk clothing and accessories from various designers and makers throughout Scotland, the British Isles, Ireland and Italy.
Good design, high quality and provenance are important to us and we like to support small producers as well as some established names.
It's more than a hotel - it's a family. Although Hotel Eilean Iarmain is arguably the biggest draw, Fearann Eilean Iarmain is also home to an art gallery, a whisky shop, plays host to a number of outdoor activities and, most recently, added a small gin distillery and the Inn at Ardvasar to the family.
Lucilla Noble is aiming to achieve a welcoming spirit at the Inn. "When visitors walk into Eilean Iarmain, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and we want to create that same warmth at the Inn, with the Linne Restaurant specialising in seafood and the MacNaMara Bar serving delicious bar meals, as well as a games room with pool tables”, she says.
"The Ardvasar Hotel dates from the early 1800's and we want to give it back a sense of its history - along with a new pizza oven!"
The whisky shop, run by Rosalyn MacLeod, is located next door to Hotel Eilean Iarmain and stocks not only the award-winning Gaelic Whiskies, but also the recently launched Gaelic Gins, distilled in a small copper still commissioned by her late husband, Sir Iain Noble.
By Roz Macaskill
A popular fixture for customers near Armadale pier, ‘ragamuffin’ turns 40 this year!
Created by Lesley Robertson in 1978, ‘ragamuffin’ has evolved to specialise in handmade Scottish and Irish knitwear, alongside clothing made from natural fibres in Europe.
A workshop became available in Ardvasar and, in 1978, Lesley set up ‘ragamuffin’. "I started making things in the workshop and people would come in, be intrigued and ask to buy them," she explains. "When I couldn't keep up with demand and kept selling out, I realised it was time to source stock from other, like-minded makers."
After moving to premises on the pier, it was Lesley's own designs that gave the shop its distinctive style and reputation for vibrancy. Lesley says: "People come into the shop today saying the jacket they bought 30 years ago is still going strong, or that they wished we still made our smocks. It's very flattering!"