Skip to main content
Spirit Logo
Fish Farm on North Uist, Outer Hebrides (Credit: Airborne Lens)
Home / Discover / Stories / Silver Darlings

Silver Darlings

By Gill Ross

Silver Darlings Journey Stone
Image provided by Gill Ross

From the Middle Ages onwards ‘silver darlings’ or herrings have provided Scotland with a cheap and plentiful source of food initially for home consumption but later developed into an industry. Fishermen would follow shoals of herrings from the Hebrides down the West Coast of Scotland and beyond.

At the peak of the herring boom in 1907, boats from all over Europe fished the Scottish waters. Two and a half million barrels of fish were caught, cured, and exported. Employment was provided for thousands of Scottish workers, generally the men did the fishing and the ‘herring lasses’ would travel from port to port to gut and pack the fish.

Many thanks to Gill Ross 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.