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The great tapestry of the Highlands and Islands to be stitched across the north

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The people, places and stories who have defined the north will underpin the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands, which will stretch over 52 panels sewn by teams of volunteer stitchers.

Over the next two years ,Highlanders and islanders will be asked what should be included in the piece and, once complete, it will tour the communities who helped make it before going on show at the newly refurbished Inverness Castle, where it is hoped it will attract a global audience.

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Historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, both who worked on the hugely successful Great Tapestry of Scotland, will work closely together to to create the historical narrative of the piece.

The team behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland (pictured) will now work on a Highlands and Islands version which will tell the story of the people, places and stories which have defined the north over thousands of years. PIC: Phil Wilkinson.

Fergus Ewing MSP, co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group, said: “This is a really exciting part of the project, engaging people from all walks of life throughout the Highlands and Islands in telling the story of their lives and their land.”

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He added: “The stories of our communities throughout the area will encourage people from this country and beyond to explore the spectacular places and communities in this part of the world, discovering all that it has to offer.”

The Great Tapestry of Scotland spans 140 metres and was embroidered by 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland.

Now on permanent show at a purpose-built visitor centre in Galashiels, it is expected to generate £900,000 a year for the local economy given interest in the piece.

Around 360,000 people visited the tapestry as it toured the country with those leading the Highlands and Islands project hoping it will support tourism across the area.

Jan Rutherford and Anna Marshall, who were responsible for logisitics, exhibitions, fundraising and publicity for the Great Tapestry project, will also work on the Highlands and Islands piece.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “A tapestry is an exciting medium for bringing to life the rich and remarkable history of the Highlands and Islands. The project is also a chance to unite communities as they stitch together their stories of the past into our present, leaving a valuable legacy for the future.

The tapestry is supported by the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The tapestry team will work with NatureScot and other organisations, including VisitScotland, on the natural and cultural heritage project .

Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and Area, and co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said: “Through the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands we will tell the story of the area, ensuring that people have the opportunity to decide what stories appear from their particular area. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to get involved in this project. I’m really excited to see the panels as they are developed throughout the area.”

The transformation of Inverness Castle has been funded by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. It will serve as a “gateway” for tourism in the Highlands with hopes it will become a “must see” attraction.

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