When things are quiet online, that usually means that they have not been quiet in the workshop!

Easter takes up a lot of Wordsmith Crafts time. You can read about that on the Quartz website. Now is the time to prepare for a Summer of activities though!

The Whithorn Trust has supported the building of a Faering. This will be launched the day before a weekend of Viking Activity fri 24th to Sun 26th). We are going to take Cluaran too – anyone fancy a row?

Simon is buying a Sea Wych to use as a floating clubhouse. She needs a good clean and some fixing up.

“Making Space” on Thursday evenings is starting up again! This isn’t a craft club. Since it is 750 years since the Birth of Robert the Bruce we are going to move a few blocks over and make things with the Summerhill youth group. The project is called “Crafts for the King” more details to follow.

Proof that hands on work was carried out.

More Schools

Did I mention that it is school visiting season? The requests for Viking visits have been flooding in this year.

Every visit is different, because every class approaches the topic in a different way. Hopefully we help them learn about the people who contributed to the Scotland we live in today.


Kirkbean School


Bannocks, Boxes and Bags

Bannocks are baking and the boxes are packed! Must be the season for school visits.

Soon settlers will become seakings, and the viking era will be thoroughly explored. Stories from around the Irish sea region given will be given a fresh airing.

It all looks so tidy now! Will that survive contact with the classroom!

Arts Installations


The cluaran project was initiated by Simon Lidwell as an art project. It’s aim was to build a boat, but it became more about building interest in heritage. So what is heritage? You might think of treasure, but one definition is simply anything you can inherit.

So, stories, craft skills, the experience of being on the water with a crew of time travellers – all of this is heritage.

As the year gets going we will soon be launching “Crafts for the King”

This activity will give people the opportunity to set up “Cottage Industries” which will use cheap and easy to access materials to make desirable products. These products can then be donated “To the King” and will be sold on a mediaeval stall at the Robert the Bruce 750 medieval market in Dumfries.

Proceeds from this will be re-invested into holding a harvest time Medieval feast for all those involved.

This activity makes available what we have learned about organising community feasts and making hands on heritage crafts.

It provides the opportunity to think about the nature of kingship – or authority in general (Which king are we talking about? What type of King would you choose? What is Kingship? )

If you would like to buy any of the sort of Jewellery featured in the pictures on this page, please visit Simon’s Etsy Shop


Museum photoshoot

Craft club is teaming up with the museum service, Annan photo club, and local reenactors to bring characters from the past to life.

Try out things to wear at craft club on the 8th of feb

Tales at the tap on the 15th

Photoshoot on the 22nd!

*** Extra information about the photoshoot

Muster at the workshop by 6pm to share lifts, Or turn up at Kate’s Kitchen on Annan High street at 6.30 for a 7pm start. Tom Hughes from the museums is the organiser.


More info and sign up for updates here:

Events storytelling

Tales at the Tap

The third Thursday in February is the 15th.

We will be starting a bit later from now on, moving the gathering time to 7pm

Last month there were some hilarious moments when we played an improvised storytelling game.

This month features a mix of music and story led by Simon and Kate. What would you like to hear?


Tree Craft

Re-use your Christmas tree

Craft club next Thursday (11th of Jan) will be an opportunity to turn any Christmas trees you have lying around into pegs hooks and whisks.

People have been looking at the way trees grow and working out how to use the shape to make life easier. This peg, or whisk – who knows? Was found preserved in a glacier for centuries. The whisk were made by people re-discovering the wonder of working with simple materials

We have tested out the techniques, and have a few trees ready to process, so come along and have a go! If you have a tree you’d like to see used then please get in touch or drop it off at the workshop.

Craft club takes place in the workshop 7 til 9 most Thursdays. Check the calendar to be sure! Sometimes something special will be going on, at others you can use the time and space to experiment and get round to making.

We ask for a £5 donation to cover overheads – but if you are cash short time helping out maintaining the workshop is welcome too!


Merry Christmas


School Visiting

A Quick overview

Cluaran describes itself as giving access to “Living, Breathing Heritage”. One of the most rewarding ways to see this happen is visiting primary schools to help the pupils meet someone who has contributed to the Scotland they recognise now.

We use a combination of storytelling, handling of replica artefacts, games and craft activities. Each visit is a unique experience. Sometimes we visit at the start of a topic to inspire the pupils, on another visit we will arrive after they have been learning and get to see them recognise, and hold, things they have only read about in books.

So at the end of the year we are going to post some reviews of schools visits. If you would like to get involved in this sort of activity please get in touch!

2003 to 2023 Newspaper articles about school visits by Cathbad.

Games and activities from a visit to The Royal High School in Edinburgh, 2023

We take the boat each year to Cargilfield in Edinburgh for their Viking day.

Long before we had our own boat, or even thought of the name cluaran, the current WSC directors caught the ferry from Aberdeen to visit schools in the Shetland Island with Ulfric and Aasa. We even took a bed to make each day and turn a school hall into a home.

What would you like to see more of, leave a comment or get in touch!

Events Nithraid 2023 storytelling

Mini Nith Stories

Here are some of the stories we collected at this years Nithraid as people responded to the online form and our time travelling crew.

We asked the questions:

  • What is your characters name
  • When do they come from
  • Where do they come from
  • What is their relation to the River Nith
  • What is important to you/them about the river or what it represents
  • How can someone find out more or get involved with that
  • What connection does Caerlaverock Castle (or Wardlaw Iron Age/ Roman forts) have with you or the river
  • Would you like to say any more about the River?

Early Medieval

Oswy Shinnelson is from Tynron Doon, British Hill Fort. The river links me to the wider world. The Shinnel is a tributary of the River Nith which connects as a sea road to the Solway and  the Irish Sea. He Navigates the River Nith to the sea and beyond  Teh connection he feels to Caerlaverock is that the Wardlaw is a British Hill Fort allied to Tynron Doon in the Rheged Celtic Kingdom. The River is one of the roads to the world and beyond to God.


Otter came from Mull and lives near the river. Clean water is important and they love the Caeverlock Castle Magic.

Alexander Alison is a Renaissance man who lives in Carsethorne. He loves the way the Nith links him to the wider world, A gateway to the new world and the republic.
It represents Freedom from tyranny and The men they couldn’t hang. He believes we need to be free from the past and that the river could do with dredging as it is a mediocre port.

Information Age

Davey is from Dumfries. He lives near the river. It is important to him as it reminds him, daily, of the insignificance of our time amidst the natural world around us. He enourages you to take a walk up and down the rivers course, and reflect on how Caerlaverock Castle and Wardlaw allowed powerful people to monitor and control movement in and out of the river. It is an important and overlooked natural resource that requires our attention and imaginations.


Trulnanvar is part of all that is beyond and before, the great nothingness. I use it, it flows in me, around me, through me … it is sound, unending force, reflected light, still darkness … dip a toe in the river, they have been and shall be again

River drip, River ice, River stream, vast expanse, trickle damp mist …

What would your stories look like?