Despite the harsh Outer Hebridean climate, we’re a warm-hearted bunch here in Harris. Perhaps it’s the dramatic landscapes or just the long nights of winter, but our island is more than a little prone to romance.
Back in the days of the old blackhouses, the custom of ‘bundling’ was commonplace across the islands, the tradition of visiting one’s amour after dark, a door latch lifted to allow the suitor to sneak inside.
This may sound a little indecent by today’s standards but back then a strict code of honour was employed and apparently the only clothing ever removed was a boy’s boots and no access beneath the bedclothes was given!
Elsewhere, courtship rituals were more serious, particularly on the island of Hiort in St Kilda. Here, some 45 miles off the Harris coast, young men turned to a little more than poetry and cards to prove their worth.
Not far from the hill of Mullach Bi is The Lover’s Stone, a finger of rock projecting from the clifftop, 880 feet above the sea. On this fearful spot, it was said a man had to demonstrate his nerve before being allowed to marry.
He was to stand on the edge of the precipice on just his left foot, draw his right leg upwards and outwards and with both fists outstretched touch his right foot in a deep bow.
“After he has performed this he has acquired no small reputation, being ever after accounted worthy of the finest woman in the world. It is firmly believed the achievement is always attended with the desired success.” - Martin Martin, 1695
Back in the modern world, we were delighted to play a part in the proposals of three young men who each went down on one knee in the sands of nearby beaches in 2019.
We created special editions of our Isle of Harris Gin label to help them seal the deal and celebrate the inevitable “Yes!” from their beloved afterward.
So, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be fun to share some of this island love with the wider world too.
For the first time, we will be decorating a quantity of Isle of Harris Gin with a special edition of our traditional label.
The design features the words I LOVE HARRIS GIN and beautiful flecks of copper hearts in 24 unique patterns.
The bottle is presented in our eco-friendly presentation gift box with the addition of a bespoke 'I Love Harris Gin' gift card and holder.
Your heartfelt personal message will be handwritten here in Harris and included in the presentation before being shipped from our shores to the lucky recipient.
These special bottles are on sale now from our online shop and each one will be sent from Harris with love on the 7th of February in time for Valentine’s Day…