It was the world re-nowned author Alexander McCall Smith who had the idea for the Great Tapestry of Scotland . Inspired by a visit to the Prestonpans Tapestry, he set to work gathering a team to bring his vision to life.

First he recruited Andrew Crummy, the artist behind the Prestonpans Tapestry, who had vast experience with large-scale community art projects. He knew how to achieve the delicate balance between creating an immense artwork with a unified style and giving freedom to individual stitchers to make their own contributions.

Next Alexander asked historian Alistair Moffat to decide which episodes from Scottish History should be included in the Tapestry.

While he would of course include certain key events and important people [ like the Battle of Bannockburn or Sir Walter Scott ] it was also important that the Tapestry told everyday stories of Scotland’s people. Alistair suggested including panels reflecting ordinary lives, such as millworkers and herring girls. Now in its permanent home, The Great Tapestry of Scotland reveals Scottish history and culture experienced as well as shaped, by its people.

The main gallery exhibits 160 panels depicting time from the prehistoric and creation of our distinct landscape to the re-opening of the Scottish Parliament.

The Stitchers are at the very heart of the Tapestry’s Story , coordinator Dorie Wilke was the third member of the core team. She took on the enormous job of recruiting and organising 1 thousand stitchers – making the tapestry one of the world’s largest community projects. She also oversaw the process of carefully tracing Andrew Crummy’s designs onto linen, sourcing yarn and preparing stitching packs to post out to stitchers all across the country [ Scotland ]

For many it also became a personal journey, strangers are now friends for life, people reconnected with friends not seen for decades. Panels were transferred between stitchers through snowstorms and over rough seas….Some stitchers even met with and became friends with the living ancestors of individuals whose Stories are told in the 160 panels.

The Marie Stuart Society [ of which I’m a Member ] and my husband

had great pleasure in viewing this wonderful spectacle on 21st February, I now only wish I’d taken more photos on this visit.

Panel depicting Marie Stuart [ Mary Queen of Scots ]

Entertainers Past & Present

Not forgetting Scotland’s National Football team.

And Rugby Team.

Scottish Pop Icons.

There are hundreds of stories behind the creation of this Tapestry – many of which you will discover at the compelling new national visitor attraction in Galashiels heartland of the Scottish Borders.