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Keiss Castle, Caithness (Credit: Airborne Lens)
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Old Keiss Castle

By Lorraine Tait

A celebration of family memories made on the way down to Keiss harbour
Image provided by Lorraine Tait

I have lived in Caithness all my life - in a beautiful village for the first 27 years and then moved to Wick, where I still live now. When I was a wee lassie my parents had twins which was a surprise, as back then there was no scans and they thought it was only one. My Dad had to telephone the hospital from the telephone box in Keiss after his work and it was such a surprise. As they weren’t prepared I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. My Dad went to the sea in his wee boat the 'Echo'. He used to leave his car at the top of the harbour and my granddad and me would sit in it and watch for him coming back to the harbour. Then when we seen him coming, my granddad used to take the handbrake off the car and it would roll down to the harbour, which I found petrifying as he didn’t have a driving licence. So one day I decided to go down the steps rather than the car, on my way down I saw a big rat and ran back up, I decided that going with my granddad was the safer option after all.

My journey stone is the view that my granddad and me had when we were sitting in the car at the top of the harbour, looking towards Old Keiss Castle. Such great memories.

For my original journey stone I got pinks and greens and found the colours a challenge. I decided to do sea thrift as it grows on the cliffs a few minutes walk from our house. I also managed to squeeze a small image of my dads boat the 'Echo' in, even though the colours weren’t right.

Many thanks to Lorraine Tait for sharing with us the story behind her journey stone, created as part of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands.


Prior to the beginning of the stitching of each tapestry panel, each stitcher of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands was tasked with telling their interpretation of the 'Spirit of the Highlands and Islands' within a blank outline of a stone. The possibilities were truly endless - is it represented in the land? The people? A historical site? A favourite memory?

In any case, each journey stone represents the connection between each individual stitcher, their story, and their own sense, or 'spirit', of place. Discover more of the stories behind the journey stones of the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands here.