Shirley and I travelled to visit Heathergems in Pitlochry, Scotland in May 2014 we had fantastic weather and it was a treat to be in such a beautiful part of the world.
We have been a retailer of their product for over 15 years now and was on our bucket list of places to visit.
Heathergems have been produced since the 1950's. Originally by Hugh Kerr, a craftsman from Glenlivet, who initiated the product and started making it in very small quantities in his own workshop.
In 1969 Hugh met Charles Buyers, a Glasgow Accountant, who was looking for craft industries to be set up in the Highlands as a project for the then Highland and Islands Development Board. The board decided that it was not viable so Charles decided to put his own money behind it.
The original company was set up in a wall factor in East Kilbride and began producing Heathergems in the Spring of 1970. A few years later it was decided that it should be moved to a more natural home in the Highlands. As a result, the company moved to blair Atholl in Perthshire in 1979. Hugh Kerr died in 1974 and Charles Buyers in 1992. The family decided to move to a new factory in Pitlochry, where we went to visit. This has been developed over the years and includes a shop and visitor centre.
The staff we met at Heathergems made our visit special. We could not give over the time that went into preparing "the gems" from the heather. The attention to detail and the so much of the process is done by hand to create a truly unique piece. Below is a series of images that will give some insight to all that goes into preparing these beautiful pieces of craftsmanship.
A short drive from Pitlochry, along a winding tree-lined road, hugging the River Tummel, lies the Queen’s View. This famous vantage point looks out over one of the most iconic panoramas in Scotland, directly to the west along Loch Tummel from where, on a clear day, you can sometimes see the mountains surrounding Glencoe by the West Coast. A popular destination since Victorian times, it is often thought that the location was named after Queen Victoria who did, in fact, visit in 1866 . However, it is more widely believed to have been named after Queen Isabella the 14th century wife of Robert the Bruce who used the spot as a resting place on her travels.