Harris Tweed weav­ing re­turns to Uig af­ter gap of 25 years

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

TWO LEWIS men have re­vived a tra­di­tional in­dus­try in their area af­ter be­ing inspired by their an­ces­tors.

Domh­nall Iain Mac­Don­ald from Gisla and Calum Ge­orge Buchanan from Val­tos, have led the res­ur­rec­tion of Harris Tweed weav­ing in Uig af­ter al­most 25 years.

Mr Buchanan’s mother, Seon­aidh Buchanan, was an orig­i­nal weaver on the is­land and even re­calls the first six Hat­ter­s­ley looms com­ing to Val­tos in 1938.

Both Mr Mac­Don­ald’s fa­ther and un­cle were also weavers.

At the in­dus­try’s peak, in the post-war years, there were 34 looms in the Val­tos penin­sula. In Uig as a whole, there were at least 100 weavers and, for most fam­i­lies, the loom was the main source of in­come.

The in­dus­try went into sharp de­cline in the 80s and the last of the Hat­ter­s­ley weavers in Uig re­tired in the early 90s.

Neil MacLeod, chair­man of the Harris Tweed weavers as­so­ci­a­tion, said: ‘There are more than 60 peo­ple look­ing for looms, many of them work­ing off­shore and see­ing this as a means of mak­ing their liv­ings at home.’

The chair­man of Harris Tweed He­brides, Brian Wil­son, who lives in the Uig vil­lage of Manger­sta, said: ‘It is great to see weav­ing back in Uig. This sums up why the Harris Tweed re­vival is so im­por­tant.

‘It al­lows weavers like D.I. and Calum Ge­orge to re­main in their own com­mu­ni­ties, earn good liveli­hoods and raise their fam­i­lies here.

‘We just need to keep it go­ing and en­sure a strong, sta­ble fu­ture for the in­dus­try.’

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