In the second of our Winter Warmers, we are heading to Hawick to look at the newly opened Whisky Distillery and some of the long established Mills.
Hawick is also home to the Tower Mill which houses the Borders Textile Towerhouse which brings to life over 200 years of tradition and innovation in the local knitwear and tweed industries. There is also a Cafe Bar in the Tower Mill and the Heritage Hub.
The Heritage Hub is a must if you are interested in Genealogy, Family and Local History. You can visit the search room to look at documents and the facilities are open to anyone to do their own research. Everything is free apart from photocopying or printing.
The Border Distillery is the first Scottish Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837. It was commissioned in March 2018. It's aim is to make great whisky and to capture the spirit of the Borders.
There are conducted tours, which can be booked in advance with tastings afterwards. However, their own whisky is not ready for tasting, I think not ready until 2020 at the earliest, so they have some blended whiskies and they distil Gin which is ready now, as well as the Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
The work on the renovation of the building has been expertly carried out with a committed attention to detail and a real acknowledgement of the history of the building. The result is spectacular. The 1930 crane has been restored and the building and the build was as interesting to hear about as the distilling of the whisky and gin!
The Border Distillery is open all year and as well as the usual tours, Mondays to Saturday, The Border Distillery also welcome customised and VIP tours.
Johnstons of Elgin is one of the largest Mills in Hawick, if not the largest. The Mill tours are just amazing especially if you are interested in knitwear, designers, or just manufacturing in general. There is no charge and they run quite a few a day. There is plenty to look at in the Shop while waiting for a tour or enjoy coffee and cake in the cafe.
The tour is extensive and you see all the different aspects of garment construction. If you are lucky you will see some of Chanel's latest designs and also the different ways the Chanel logo, the overlapping double C, are shown on knitwear. They manufacture for other famous designers as well.
Lovat Mill is situated on the banks of the River Teviot and has a worldwide reputation for woven excellence in design and quality. 50% of their products are exported to "Tweed" connoisseurs around the world.
The term "Tweed" came about almost 200 years ago when a London cloth merchant misread a label marked "Tweel" Tweel was the Scots dialect word for twill.
Tweed, as manufactured by Lovat Mill, has a richness of colour twists and yarn mixtures which capture the very essence of the Scottish Borders landscape.
They have lots of tweed on display but also items to buy such as gloves, scarves, hats etc.
Back to knitwear at William Lockie who specialise in natural fibres such as Cashmere, Camelhair, Merino, Geelong and Lambswool. Lockies dates back to 1874 and is still a family run business with skilled workers from the same local families who have been employed for generations.
They have quite a large mill shop and some interesting designs.
Just across the river from Johnstons is Hawico. This firm is relatively new to Hawick but the quality, choice and design are all extremely impressive. They have a superb shop and upstairs there is a more "bespoke" area with some incredible knitwear waiting to be sent round the world. If you are looking for something specific or special, then my impression was that they would design and manufacture it for you as a one off.
There is the Cafe Bar in the Tower Mill, the Cafe in Johnstons of Elgin, or on the way to or back from Hawick, there is Born in then Borders. Their cafe/restaurant is very good indeed and if you have time, there is a Brewery you can look round and a farm style shop.
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