The incredible purple landscape of the Cairngorm mountains is mirrored in our contemporary Caledonian Forest tartan, inspired by the treacherous journeys of the timmer floaters in the 1600s. Timber, or ‘timmer’, felled in inland forests was transported downriver by men known as ‘timmer floaters’. Using a long stick to steer a raft made of around 150 sleepers through perilous waters, they risked their lives to transport their cargo.
The River Spey, Scotland’s fastest flowing river, descends from the beautiful Cairngorms down to the sea, not far from our Elgin mill. The wood floated was used in railway construction and later for shipbuilding, and for 200 years, the Moray area was the leading exporter of timber in Britain.
The Cairngorm mountains remain a majestic spectacle, boasting several different types of heather during summer, while their high plateaux and arctic-alpine environment mean there can be areas of snow all year round. Contrasts of dark green, teal and purple in our vibrant Caledonian Forest tartan are reminiscent of this unique terrain. The bold design acknowledges the ever-beautiful Cairngorms’ landscape and the gruelling job of the men who worked there 400 years ago.