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?


Craft Club

There will be no craft club on the 23rd of November, but it will be back on on the 30th.

So in the meantime here are some making videos:

Jamie with a quick report on a Viking era style box he made.

And making some things to make a loud noise

Events storytelling

More Tales

… and a trip

As well as telling stories in the pub, floating a boat on the time-streams and making things with wind, fire, water and earth Cluaran also is the vessel we use to give school pupils hands on experiences of history.

Equipment for a large school visit
With more interpreters we can bring larger pieces of equipment and give larger groups of pupils a small group experience.

This Thursday (the 16th of November) we will load up the boat to head to “Tales from the Tap” – hopefully avoiding any flooding. Once the tales are told Cathbad and Toma the Vikings will be driving north and east to Dunedin. Friday will be spent in the 10th century with Cargilfield School in Edinburgh.

All these activities mesh together and with Quartz. Making heritage accessible hands on – even the aspects of heritage you need to practice #SensingSpirituality to become aware of.

If you are interested in working in schools bringing history to life please get in touch. Sometimes we use costumes and characters, sometimes science and crafts. There is training, formal volunteering opportunities, and even the chance to develop it into a paying job.


Clyde to Forth

Obviously, we have to start on the Clyde…

One of the long term ambitions of Cluaran has been to row from Glasgow to Edinburgh, perhaps carrying some cargo, like a keg of Ale.

To whet your appetite here is a wee video of the crew of “Black Agnes” achieving that aim (without the keg).

This would obviously take some training and equipping, so we have other ideas lined up to get more used to messing around in boats.


Adventure Planning

There will be Craft Club this Thursday evening. I suspect there will be blacksmithing, but there are also some boat tasks to accomplish.

Bottom boards, and a rudder and tiller are both useful things for the Cluaran boat. More adventurous plans will follow.

You can also take the opportunity to come along, hang out and get round to a craft of your own.

But talking of adventures, keep your eyes open for a menu of things we can work our way towards. This might be visiting schools to bring history to life, or getting out on the water, or even building things which float.

Events storytelling

Tales at the Tap

With added mead…

Autumn is here and plans are germinating. Here is a selection of current activities planned.

Tales at the Tap

The 19th of October will see the return of Simon and Kate to the Riverside Tap. Turn up from 6pm for a blether, and stories with music will start at 6.30.

The Tap doesn’t serve food, but doesn’t object if you bring a pizza in either. They are also experimenting with stocking some mead.

Northern Tales

How often do you get the opportunty to listen to Sami stories and music? instead of craft club, and as it’s the school holidays, we are going to “Northern Tales” at the Stove instead.

Northern Tales & Tunes

Date: Thu, Oct 26 • 19:30 BST

Location: 100 High Street, Dumfries, DG1 2BJ

Cluaran Craft Club

Craft Club will be back on Thursday the 2nd of November. Finish your S-Hook or start another project.

And if you are interested in mead, this is Simons favourite supplier at the moment.

Nithraid 2023 storytelling

Nithraid Crew 2023

At Nithraid in 2023 Cluaran had a crew gathered from a variety of times and places. They are all connected by the river Nith, but may have very different opinions about it. Over the coming months we will introduce you to them.

First up from the future we have Ola…

Meet Ola

She is from 3033 and time travels back in time when the tide comes in up the river Nith.

In her future there is no land, and everyone lives under water. Due to micro plastics in our current timeline Ola’s people have developed scales on their legs (which are multi coloured) and a neoprene type skin that covers their feet. This helps them swim in their underwater world.

A chemical created (in her timeline) to dissolve micro plastics in the sea mutated and humans started to develop ability to breath underwater. This is how their skin and scales developed.

In Ola’s world the currency they use are pelican foot shells. These shells are prised highly with her people and can only be collected from some beaches along the coast of Dumfries and Galloway up to the end of the 21st century. None exist in her time, and this is usually why she comes back to our time. There she can collect them and walk along beaches that no longer exist in 3033.

 Her cloak has a bright purple lining and gold and blue panels with floral designs. These have been inspired by the banks of the river Nith.

Ola has not yet spoken about how her world came to be under the sea, but she likes to talk to people about looking after our world in 2023.

— Ola, time traveller

More stories to follow! After craft club though. We will probably be casting playing pieces for early medieval games this evening.