Hobby pays off for weaver

Dave Cameron has weaved his way to national success
Dave Cameron has weaved his way to national success

A semi-retired computer systems engineer’s hobby has won him a national prize.

Dave Cameron from Avonbridge is celebrating after his idea and skills as a handloom weaver were rated the best by judges from the Scottish Youth Hostel Association who had issued a challenge to design its official tartan.

The 61-year-old dad-of-two spent hours on his entry which was inspired by the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

He beat off the challenge of 20 rivals to win the vote and his tartan will now be used for soft furnishings throughout the SYHA’s network.

It will also go on display at Stirling Youth Hostel later this year as part of VisitScotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and Festival of Architecture.

Dave, originally from Inverness where handloom weaving is a traditional industry, said: “I had never designed a tartan before so really enjoyed the SYHA brief to motivate and guide me.

“To be shortlisted from so many excellent entries was a bonus, but for my design to be selected is beyond anything I could have hoped for.

“It’s a great feeling for an engineer to see their work become accepted as just another part of people’s lives. I’m happy to think this tartan design will add to the homely, welcoming character of Scottish youth hostels.”

His proud family, wife Sarah and children Megan (11) and Duncan (9), are delighted for him.

Sarah said: “Over the winter he put in a lot of work and it’s great that has been rewarded.”

The family are great supporters of the hostelling network.

Dave added: “It was part of my growing up, soggy hikes with the Scouts through Glen Affric, cycling with my mum between Aviemore and Kingussie and staying at Loch Morlich with friends for a week skiing on Cairngorm.

“My wife and I have introduced the children to youth hostels and they enjoy exploring and meeting new friends. The staff are always very friendly and other residents keen to take the time to chat and share stories.”

Keith Legge, SYHA chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to have a dedicated SYHA Hostelling tartan that really incorporates the natural beauty of Scotland and its great outdoors.”

Dave has been awarded life membership of SYHA Hostelling Scotland, a two-night stay for up to four people at any Scottish youth hostel and will also be able to see his tartan being manufactured.