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Highlandwear Made In Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan Campbell

This article examines the Campbell Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

The Campbell Clan is one of the largest Scottish Clans and historically one of the most powerful. According to the 2001 census, ‘Campbell’ was the 4th most common surname in Scotland.

Clan History

It is thought that the Campbell’s originally hailed from the Strathclyde area on the west coast of Scotland, with strong connections to the Argyll region.  The clan chief of Clan Campbell has been the Earl of Argyll since 1445, then Duke of Argyll from 1701.

The Argyll region of Scotland and the Campbell Clan Crest

In the 14th Centuary the Campbell’s were strong supporters of Scottish Independence, and fought along side Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314

The Campbell’s are perhaps best known for their part in the infamous Massacre at Glencoe, where troops (including several Campbell’s) lead by Robert Campbell of Glenlyon murdered members of the MacDonald Clan in Glencoe on 13th February 1692.
During the two Jacobite uprisings in the 18th centuary, the Campbell’s sided with the British government and fought against the Jacobite armies. The Campbell’s had four divisions of men at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last battle of the uprising which crushed the rebellion.

Today, the Clan Chief of the Clan Campbell is Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, who captained Scotland’s Elephant Polo team to victory in the 2004 and 2005 World Elephant Polo Association World Championships.  Inveraray Castle has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 17th century.

Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll (L) and the Scottish Elephant Polo team in  2005, with Campbell in the centre (R)
Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll (L) and the Scottish Elephant Polo team in 2005, with Campbell in the centre (R)

Clan Tartans

The Campbell Tartan is predominantly green and blue, intersected with a black check. The tartan may look quite familiar to many, as it also goes under the name ‘Black Watch‘ – the tartan used extensively in the UK military.

Inverary Castle, surrounded by Clan Campbell Tartans
A variety of Campbell Tartans

There are variations of the tartan based on different locations around Scotland where certain Campbell’s hailed from. These tartans include: Campbell of Argyll, Campbell of Breadalbane, Campbell of Cawdor, Campbell of Lochawe and Campbell of Loudoun. Each design uses the base colours from the Campbell tartan, but add a thin, coloured line through the design.

Clan Crest and Motto

The Clan Campbell crest is of a Boar’s head and they have the motto ‘Ne Obliviscaris’, which is Latin for ‘Forget Not‘)

Houston’s stock many varieties of Campbell Clan Crested accessories here.

Other Useful Links

The Clan Campbell Society of North America (CCSNA) is a great resource to learn more about the Campbell Clan’s history.

Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell.

View all the Campbell Tartans stocked by Houston Kiltmakers.

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Gifts Highlandwear Kilt Pin Made In Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History Sporran traditions

Clan Crest Accessories – Personalised Clan Highland Wear

The roots of Highland Wear comes from the Scottish Clan system – Clan Tartans are a great example of showing the contrasting styles of the Clans. Each Clan, along with their own specific Tartans, also have their own Clan Crest and Coat of Arms. At Houston’s we can provide the option to customize many items with your own Clan Crest to make each item special to you and link to the connection with a family name. Great as personalized touches to your Kilt outfit.Clan Crested Kilt Pin - Kitlmakers.com

With origins in the Clan system of Scotland, a Scottish crest badge is a heraldic badge worn to show allegiance to an individual or membership in a specific Scottish clan.

Clan Crested Belt Buckle - Kiltmakers.com

Clan Crest accessories can be customized with 120+ different Family Crests – the perfect personalized gift for a loved one, a friend or wear them yourself! From Clan Anderson to Wallace, any many names in-between, choose your family’s clan crest for your accessories!

Clan Crested Sgian Dubh - Kiltmakers.com

Wall plaques, Cufflinks and tankards are also available with a family crest, which make great gifts!

Clan Crested Cap Badge - Kiltmakers.com

All our Clan Crested accessories are made in Scotland by our trusted supplier. As there is a wide range of crests available in some rare occasions it could take up to 6 weeks for your accessory to be delivered as they will have to be made if they are out of stock at the time of order.

Houston’s crested product range includes Sporrans, Kilt Pin’s, Belt Buckles, Sgian Dubh’s and much more. You can see our full range here!

 

 

 

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Scotland Scottish History tartan traditions

Royal Tartans – Tartan Fit for a Queen (Or King!)

The British Royal family have had long ties with the traditional cloth of Scotland and a great affinity towards tartan. This link didn’t just start with the current monarch, but can be traced back hundreds of years!

The Royal Stewart and Royal Balmoral Tartans

While the Dress Act of 1746 under George II brought a ban on Tartan, Kilts & Highlandwear and dented it broad wearership, when it was repealed it proved to kick-start the popularity in Tartan – both with the general public and royalty.

George IV’s visit to Scotland in 1822 gave a real boost to the traditional Scottish dress has he arrived wearing a full Kilt outfit. This started the real love affair with the royals and tartan.

King George IV in a Kilt Outfit on his visit to Scotland

Queen Victoria continued the link with tartan during her reign, often dressing her children in Kilts. Prince Albert, Victoria’s husband, was a keen tartan designer and attributed as the creator of the (Royal) Balmoral tartan – a tartan to be worn exclusively by the royals and specially selected parties. (The Queen’s personal piper is one of they selected few allowed to be dressed in the tartan.)

The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles are all keen wearers of Tartan

Queen Elizabeth is also a keen supporter of Tartan, often seen wearing the cloth at Highland games or on visits to Scotland. Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales is also often spotted in a Highland Outift on public occasions.

The British Royal family and Tartan have always gone hand in hand. As Queen Elizabeth II breaks the record for longest serving monarch, we hope the link continues for many years to come!

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Highlandwear Kilt Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan Anderson

This article examines the Anderson Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

Clan History

The Anderson Clan has links stretching back to St. Andrew, the Patron Saint of Scotland. Anderson literally means ‘Son of Andrew’. The name Anderson was recorded as early as the 13th century. As the name Anderson is so wide spread in Scotland, it is hard to narrow down to a specific area where the Anderson’s originally hailed from. It is generally agreed that the region they most likely call ‘home’ is the traditional district of Badenoch.

Clan Anderson came from Badenoch
Clan Crest for the Anderson Clan and Map of their Origins

Clan Crest and Motto

The Clan Crest of the Anderson Clan is of an Oak Tree and their motto is ‘Stand Sure’. The motto reflects both the Oak Tree and the lasting of the Anderson name – the Oak Tree grows strong and lives for a long time, similar to the Anderson Clan.

Clan Tartan

The Anderson Tartan is a particularly popular design. An elaborate tartan, it incorporates several colours and many thin stripes. Mainly a blue design, it also features green, red, yellow, white and black.

Anderson Clan Tartan
Ancient, Modern and Muted Versions of the Anderson Tartan, the Thread Count and a Digital Image of the Tartan

Other Useful Links

The Anderson Clan Society is a useful place to start if you are looking for more details about the clan.

 You can see the full range of Anderson Tartans that we stock here!

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Highlandwear How Its Made Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Made In Scotland Scottish History traditions

Ruche Ties – Behind the Scenes – How they are Made

We spent some time in our In-Store workshop, watching many items being created by our wonderful seamstress Beth. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at a few of the Tartan accessories she has been crafting! This week we take a closer look at the Ruche Tie.

Mix of Tartan Ruche Ties

What is a Ruche Tie?

A Ruche Tie is alternative neckwear to the standard tie and bow tie. In terms of looks it is halfway between a standard tie and a cravat. Ruche Ties are wider than a standard necktie with an extravagant knot. They make for the perfect neckwear for your Highland Outfit, providing extra prestige to your formal attire.

Ruche Ties come in both plain colour, or in a tartan to match your Kilt. If you are having a Kilt made, please enquire about having matching neckwear crafted to match. Tartan Ruche Ties are a popular option with Kilt Hires and are available in boys sizes too!

How a Ruche Tie is Made

Our seamstress has been making Ruche Ties for many years, and has perfected her own take on this neckwear.

(Click Photos to Enlarge!)

Cut out the Tie Templates
Cloth for the Ruche Ties is cut from Templates

To start, the material needed is cut from templates. Cloth for the two tie sleeves, neck knot and neck loop are carefully cut out. If tartan is being used, extra care is taken to keep the design symmetrical and to incorporate as much of the tartan pattern into the tie.

The Parts for the Ruche Tie are sewn into shape
The cloth is stitched into shape

From here the cloth templates are stitched to create the shape of the knot, the two tie sleeves (one larger than the other) and the neck loop (like a tube of cloth now).

Press the Edges of the Tie into Shape
The Edges of the Tie are carefully pressed into shape

The edges are then pressed to give them their final shape. The pressing ensures that they keep their shape and there aren’t any unwanted bulges.

Ruche Tie knot stitched on to the rest of the Tie
The Knot is hand stitched on to the rest of the Ruche Tie pieces

The next step is to hand stitch the knot on to the top of the two tie pieces – this holds the whole tie together. The Ruche Tie is starting to take shape! Finally, metal hook are attached to the neck loop, and this in turn is attached to the knot. The tie is complete!

A Few Ruche Ties in Mens and Boys Styles
A Few Ruche Ties in our Exclusive Bute Heather Tartans!

Our Ruche Ties come in both Men’s and Boy’s sizes and can be made in over 130 colours to match your outfit, or in the Tartan of your choice! To find out more please contact us at Houston Kiltmakers!

 

Categories
Highlandwear Kilts Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions

Clan Tartans in Focus – Clan MacDonald

This article examines the MacDonald Clan, looking back at their History, studying their Clan Crests and a glimpse at the associated clan tartans!

MacDonald Clan Tartan and Map
Clan MacDonald Hail from the Isles. They have many associated Tartans, here we see the Ancient Clan MacDonald Tartan.

Clan History

Clan MacDonald is historically the largest of the Scottish Clans. Their roots can be traced back to the 12th century, with Domhnall mac Raghnaill (Donald, Son of Ranald) often being cited as the first in the clan’s line. They hailed originally froom the Inner Hebrides and Ross.

There are several branches of Clan MacDonald, many with their own Tartans. These branches are established from regions where members of the Clan MacDonald moved to around Scotland. The most noted of these are MacDonald of Sleat, MacDonald of Clanranald, MacDonell of Glengarry and MacDonald of Keppoch – the Tartans of all these branches can be seen on Kiltmakers.com, along with other historical variations.

The Clan MacDonald (Sometimes referred to simply as Clan Donald) are historical known to hail from the Islands around the west coast of Scotland, leading to the Clan Chief being bestowed with the title, Lord of The Isles. (This has since been passed on to the hair apparent of Scotland, meaning currently HRH Prince Charles holds the title.)

Clan Crest and Motto

The Clan Crest of Clan MacDonald is of a hand in an gauntlet holding a cross over a crown. The motto of Clan MacDonald is ‘Per Mare Per Terras’, which translates to ‘By Sea and Land’. Several of the branches of the Clan MacDonald have their own Clan Crest, such as MacDonald of Clanranald. The MacDonald of Clanranald crest shows an arm holding a sword above a castle, with the motto, ‘My Hope is Constant in Thee’.

Clan Crests for the MacDonald Clan
Clan Crest for the Clan MacDonald (L) and Clan MacDonald of Clanranald (R)

We offer a wide range of Highland Wear products, customized with your own Clan Crest. From Sporrans and Kilt Pins to Hip Flasks and Sgian Dubhs, we can customize most items with a Clan Crest.

Rival Clans

The most famous rival Clan to the MacDonalds is the Campbells. This clash can be traced back to the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, where members of Clan Campbell murdered members of the MacDonalds of Glencoe on a cold winters night. 38 MacDonalds were killed by their guests, to whom they were providing traditional warm hospitality. Another 40 members of the clan lost their lives to exposure as they attempted to flee across the snow covered glen.

Massacre of Glencoe

Other Useful Links

MacDonald remains the most common ‘Mac’ name is Scotland, with Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald being part of the Clan.

The Clan Donald Centre on the Isle of Skye is an estate around Armadale Castle where you can learn more of the history of Clan Donald.

Clan Donald USA has several regional divisions across the States where you can meet and associate with others carrying the MacDonald name.

You can learn more about Clan Donald and its heritage on a dedicated site here: Clandonald-Heritage.com.

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Highlandwear Jackets Kilt Kilts Kilts for Sale Made In Scotland Paisley Scotland Shoulder Plaid tartan traditions Wedding Kilts

Shipping Kilts Worldwide! From the USA to Australia – and Everywhere in Between!

Houston’s Kiltmakers prides itself on providing the finest quality Kilt Outfits, crafted with woollen cloth made by the Scottish Mills. This certainly doesn’t mean that our products are exclusively for clients in Scotland – quite the opposite! We ship our products across the world through our international carrier DHL and Interlink Express. Customers living outside the EU can also take advantage of Tax-Free prices!

Houston Traditional Kiltmkaers

Don’t worry if you are Overseas – you can still experience the same high class service we offer all our customers who visit the store. Communication is key when creating your bespoke Kilt outfit, and we take the time to converse with each customer to make sure that the finished Highland Outfit they receive is exactly how they imagined it. You can get in touch by Email, Phone, Skype – or a combination of all three!

If you can’t make it into the store you can still send us the required sizes we need to craft your Kilt Outfit. A local tailor/seamstress can take the sizes we need, or you can use our Self-Measurement Guides and helpful measuring videos to take your own sizes to send to us. Don’t worry, we have many years’ experience working on Highland Wear outfits, so will double check all sizes and let you know if we think any measurement you have sent us seems a little bit off!

Tartan Kilts

Whether your outfit is for a special occasion such as your Wedding day or a Graduation, or perhaps for more casual day-wear at a Celtic Gathering or Highland Games, we’ll give you expert advice at each step of your outfit – making sure you look a million dollars, no matter the event!

Living abroad doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the full Houston’s experience – take a look around the shop with a 3D virtual tour from Google. (Maybe you’ll get the chance to visit and meet the team!)

Scottish Kilts and Sporrans

You can also take a behind the scenes look at our In-Store workshop, where our wonderful seamstress Beth crafts Tartan extras for you Highland Outfit and makes alterations to Kilts. Check out our sneak peek at how Tartan Flashes  and Tartan Shoulder Plaids are made!

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If you’re from Scotland or somewhere else in the world, let Houston Kiltmakers be your No.1 Kilt, Tartan, and Highlandwear specialists!

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Highlandwear Made In Scotland Paisley Scotland Scottish History traditions

Things to do in Paisley, Scotland!

Houston Kiltmakers store is located on the West coast of Scotland in the town of Paisley, which lies on the outskirts of Glasgow, 5 minutes’ drive from Glasgow Airport. If you are visiting the shop why not check out some of the great tourist destinations on our doorstep! There is a wealth of attractions in Paisley, with many linked to the towns historical weaving past.

What to see in Paisley

Paisley has a deep routed history is weaving, establishing itself as a key player in the weaving industry in the 1800’s. Its prominence in this industry lead the town lending its name to a woven design, the Paisley Pattern.

While the weaving industry is no longer an industrial powerhouse in Paisley (the last mill closed in 1993), remnants of the historic industry remain around the town.

(Click on the images to enlarge!)

Weavers Cottage in Paisley
Sma Shots Cottage in Paisley - Step Back in Time at this Traditional Weavers Cottage!

Sma’ Shot Cottages

Open: Wednesday and Saturday: 12.00 – 16.00, April – September

Admission: FREE

Built around the 1740’s, Sma’ Shot Cottages are a fully restored example of a traditional weaver’s cottage with Loom workroom and living quarters. Take a step back in time over 250 years and get a feel of what it would have been like to be working and living as a weaver in the 18th century!

Paisley Museum and Art Gallery

Open: Tuesday to Saturday (and public holidays): 11.00 – 16.00 and Sunday: 14.00-17.00

Admission: FREE

Situated directly across the road from Houston Kiltmakers, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery offers a wealth of treasures, from Ancient Egyptian artifacts to reminders of our industrial past and our natural heritage.

Also on the site of the Museum is the Coats Observatory, only 1 of 4 public Observatories in the country. Find more details about tours and Winter viewing’s here.

Paisley Museum and Paisley Thread Mill Museum
Paisley Museum & Art Gallery and the Mill End Mill, Home of the Paisley Thread Mill Museum

Thread Mill Museum

Open: Wednesday and Saturday: 12.00 – 16.00

Admission: FREE

Housed in the Mile End Mill building and staffed by volunteers (many of whom are ex-mill workers!), the Paisley Thread Mill Museum offers the chance to see many items that have been donated by people who were connected with the Thread Mills and include photographs, mill machinery, samples of products made there and sewing artifacts.

Paisley Abbey

Open: Monday to Saturday: 10.00 – 15.30

Admission: FREE

Constructed in 1163 and given the status of Abbey in 1245, Paisley Abbey has a deep historical past within the town. Sir William Wallace is widely believed to have been educated for some time as a boy at the Abbey.

Thomas Coats Memorial Church and Paisley Abbey
Thomas Coats Memorial Church and Paisley Abbey

Thomas Coats Memorial Church

Open: Viewing by arrangement: Contact: 0141 889 9980 (church) or 0141 587 8992 (secretary)

Admission: FREE

This spectacular Church with its distinctive crown steeple can be seen in the skyline from all across Paisley. Completed in 1894, the church can host a congregation of over 1,000 people.

Places to Eat in Paisley

Allan’s Chip Shop

Located just around the corner from Houston’s, this chippy has been serving the people of Paisley for over 100 years!

Cardosi’s

An Italian restaurant offering Italian classics in a relaxed environment. They also run a cafe directly opposite Houston’s where you can enjoy a lighter snack!

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Paisley is home to a host of attractions that are well worth a visit. Make a trip to Houston’s a day out and take in some of the sights around town!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Pin Kilts Kilts for Sale Made In Scotland Scottish History Shoulder Plaid Special Weave Tartans Sporran tartan traditions

Made in Scotland – Tartan Kilts and Highland Wear by Houston Traditional Kiltmakers

At Houston’s we take great pride in our Kilts and Highland Wear, endeavoring to provide our clients with the highest quality produce. We strongly support the Scottish Manufacturing of Traditional Highlandwear and look to source products locally where possible – Made in Scotland!

Our Kilts

All our Kilts are Made to Measure, Made in Scotland and Made to Last! We use several local Kiltmakers, all with many years’ experience in crafting Handmade Kilts. Most of our Kiltmakers are based around the Paisley area (on the Central Belt of Scotland) and work from home. Kilt Making was traditionally a cottage industry, and that is still the case today!

Scottish Traditional Kilt

Locally Sourced Tartan Cloth

We source the cloth for our Kilts, Tartan Trews, Waistcoats, Tartan Suits and any other Tartan Accessories from Scottish Mills.* We work with all the remaining Tartan Mills in Scotland to provide any Tartan design our client requests and also have the ability to Specially Weave custom Tartan Designs. We feel that it is important to support this Traditional Scottish industry which has been well-established for many generations. As Vice-Chairman of the Scottish Tartans Authority (STA), Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald continues to work towards protecting Scottish Tartans and the production of this fabric in Scotland for future generations.

Isle of Bute Tartan Mill
Scottish Mills provide Houston's with Tartan Cloth. Photos show Bute Fabrics on the Isle of Bute.

Scottish Highland Outfit Accessories

For our Highland Wear Accessories – Sporrans, Silverware, Kilt Pins, Sgian Dubhs and and other items that complete a Highland Outfit – we look to local suppliers. Bespoke, Clan Crested items are made to order and add a special touch to any outfit!

Houston’s also has an in-store workshop where our Seamstress, Beth, works to craft custom Tartan Accessories for clients – ranging from Shoulder Plaids, Ring Cushions and Ties to Ladies Garters, Tartan Flashes and anything else you can think of!

Sporran and Tartan Flashes Made in Scotland

Houston’s Traditional Scottish Outfits are the Real McCoy – Made in Scotland! We are a 4th Generation family run business, working out of the same store on Paisley’s High Street since 1909 and more than happy to help deliver your perfect Highland Outfit!

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If you have an enquiries, please contact the shop, click here for all the details and online contact form!

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*A small, select range of Tartans are woven in England. Welsh Tartans are woven in Wales. We don’t use any Tartan Fabric from outwith the UK.

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History Special Weave Tartans tartan traditions Weddings

How to Choose a Tartan

When picking the Tartan for your Scottish Highland Kilt Outfit it can be quite a daunting task as there are over 14,000 Tartans to choose from. In this guide we make it easy for you to find the perfect Tartan for your Kilt – don’t worry if your family name doesn’t have a linking pattern, there is a Tartan for Everyone!

Tartans for Scottish Kilts

Where to start!

Choosing a Scottish Tartan For Your Kilt
How to Choose a Tartan for your Kilt - There is a Tartan for Everyone!

1. The first place to start when looking for a Tartan is with your family name. Simply type your name into our Tartan Finder and see all your matching tartans! Often you will find that your own name is not part of a clan which has a Tartan, if this is the case don’t worry! There are still many routes to go down to find your perfect Tartan!

2. You can search for Tartans relating to other family names (Mothers Maiden name, Grand Parents names, Uncles and Aunties names etc.) to give you a choice of tartans. Just type the name into our Tartan Finder!

3. Sometimes it is the case that you will find that your surname will not have a Clan Tartan of its own, but will be linked to a ‘Sept’. Sept’s are surnames that, while not having their own clan, are associated with another clan. For example, instances of the name Reid can be associated with clan Robertson. Members of the Reid family should therefore wear Robertson tartan. When you use our tartan finder it will bring up any relevant Sept matches and link to the tartans.

4. If you tartan search has no clan tartan or Sept matches, don’t worry! There are many regional, national and County tartans that you could find a link with! For Irish names there are tartans for each Irish County, as well as an Irish National Tartan that can be worn by anyone with a link to Ireland. Tartans such as the American National Tartan and German National Tartan are other examples of national tartans with connections to those countries. There is a range of ‘Tartans for Everyone‘, generic designs in a variety of colours that are free to wear. You can also design your own tartan, or have it designed by Houston’s Owner, Ken MacDonald!

Popular Trends and Styles

As with any item of clothing, fashions change over time and different style come into vogue. In recent times there has been a surge in the demand for Grey and Purple Tartans. (You can see a range of Purple Tartans here, and Grey Tartans here) Houston’s owner Ken MacDonald has designed a range of tartans incorporating a colour palette that matches today’s trends. The Bute Heather Tartan range offers a wide variety of grey and purple tartans, each with a flash of colour running through the design.

Autumn Bute, Ancient Bute and Grey Bute Kilts
Grey Bute, Ancient Bute and Autumn Bute Heater Kilts, Tartan Designed by Ken MacDonald

Grey tartans are known for their ability to match with any style or colour of jacket, making them ideal for both formal and casual wear. With a subtle flash of colour through a grey tartan it can create a sophisticated look to your Highland Outfit.

Royal Links

Royal Balmoral Tartan
Royal Balmoral Tartan, Designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria

Grey Tartans have Royal links going back to the reign of Queen Victoria, when her husband Prince Albert turned his hand to Tartan Design. Queen Victoria loved Scotland, regularly visiting her stately home at Balmoral.

The Royal Balmoral Tartan was designed by Prince Albert in 1853, to be worn by the Queen and members of the Royal Family, with permission from the Queen. This Royal Tartans only other approved wearer was the Queen’s personal Piper.

Grey Tartans have often been linked with Royalty for this reason.

We hope this guide helps you to find a Tartan that you love. Remember, there are no Tartan Police, and anyone has the right to wear any Tartan!