Our island is currently in the grip of an icy winter blast, with low temperatures and high winds combining to chill even the warmest of Harris homes and hearts.
But, while the heat of our hearths contends with the bitter weather, it’s Valentine’s Day on the horizon which may be striking cold fear into the hearts of our local men.
It’s probably fair to say we’re not always the most ostentatious or over-the-top bunch when it comes to expressing our more romantic sides, but beneath these reserved exteriors often lies a burning fire!
Nowhere around these parts was the callings of courtship so keenly felt than on the island of Hiort in St Kilda, some 45 miles off the Harris coast.
For it was here that many young men turned to more than pretty poetry and customary cards to prove their worth to a woman.
Swept by wind and rain, just near the hill of Mullach Bi, lies the legendary Lover’s Stone, a precarious outcrop of clifftop rock.
On this fearful spot, around 880 feet above a tempestuous sea, an enamoured man was wont to test his nerve in full view of his future wife.
The brave and love-struck soul would be required to stand upon the precipice, balance upon his left foot and then touch his right foot in a deep bow with outstretched arms.
“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
Thankfully, for those Hearaich still to marry, times have changed, and the ritual has become a distant memory with very few attempting the feat each year.
But, with February the 14th just around the corner, we thought we’d help those who still desired to make the right impression, but without the risk of a swift and deathly plunge.
We have a very small batch of I LOVE HARRIS GIN bottles available online, each with specially designed labels patterned with beautiful flecks of copper hearts.
These bottles are presented in an eco-friendly presentation gift box and include the addition of a bespoke 'I Love Harris Gin' card, with 10% of the overall proceeds going to NHS Charities Together.
A heartfelt personal message can also be added, handwritten here in Harris before being shipped from our shores to the door of the lucky recipient.
Just 50 of these special bottles are on sale now from our online shop and each one will be sent with love from Harris if you order by Monday 8th of February.
And, don’t worry if you can’t get hold of one, our Isle of Harris Gin bottles and matching glass sets always make for much-loved gifts too…