Tartan Design

Special order tartan items are hand woven in Scotland exclusively for the Trust. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Antarctic & Arctic tartan® kilting material light weight 11oz 54" 'double width' 

Antarctic & Arctic tartan® kilting material heavy weight 16oz 54" 'double width'

Cost of tartan material - £54 per yard / £59 per metre


How the Antarctic Tartan® was designed

Antarctic tartan smallInspired by the colours of the geography and natural history of the continent, the tartan totally symbolises the southern continent, the seas and ocean surrounding it, making an attractive combination of colours.

With a large square of white at the centre, representing the ice covered continent, a thin cross of blue was added to represent the four compass points and where they bisect at the South Pole. The grey rock of nunataks and partially buried mountain ranges were symbolised by a band of grey within the white of the continent, whilst rocks emerging at the edges of Antarctica were represented by a broader band of grey.

On these rocks orange lichens grow and so a band of orange lies adjacent. The colour orange is also one of the colours of Emperor Penguin’s plumage, and this together with the following bands of yellow, black, and white (representing their plumage and black and white of marine mammals), symbolise the land and marine animal life of Antarctica.

The thin band of white also represents the thin ice shelves covering the shallow continental margins, the pale blue that follows the blue shelf seas, whilst the dark blue adjacent represents the deep Antarctic Ocean. The thin band of white on the outside symbolises the Antarctic front, the limits of the Antarctic Ocean. Finally the dark colour of the ocean surrounding the light colour of the continent is symbolic of the sombre darkness of the Antarctic winter against the enlivening light of the summer.

C.Souness-3866 C.Souness-3865 detail

How the Arctic Tartan® was designed

Arctic tartan smallThe Arctic Tartan was designed by Rosalind Jones of Mull in Scotland . Inspired by the colours of the geography and natural history of the region, the tartan totally symbolises the ocean, and the land surrounding it, making an attractive combination of colours. The Arctic tartan was inspired by the Antarctic tartan. They are almost identical in colours, yet mirrored in geographical and designed to be ‘twin tartans’, the Arctic , being the reciprocal of the Antarctic in terms of land/sea.

The lines of longitude, 360/0, 90, 180, 270 are depicted as thin bands of white that cross to mark the North Pole. The North Pole lies within the largely ice covered Arctic Ocean that is represented by a large square of midnight blue to represent deep water. Surrounding this is band of pale blue for the ice-cold shallow water at the ocean edges and also the sea viewed beneath the ice floes. A band of white represents these ice floes over the ocean, the ice at the edge of the surrounding continents, and also the polar bears that migrate on the pack ice in summer. A band of black follows, which together with the white, represents the whales and black and white seabirds of the Arctic Ocean .

A thin band of bright green then represents the brief ‘greening’ of the Arctic during the short summer and the fact that, at lower levels, conifers extend just inside the Arctic Circle. A band of orange depicts the orange lichens that encrust rocks whilst coastal rocks and inland mountain ranges are represented by two bands of grey, which also represents grey animals of the arctic such as seals. White follows representing the snow covered northern continents with their white wildlife such as the polar bears, arctic foxes, wolves, hares and ptarmigan. The outside of the sett is defined by thin threads of pale blue representing the Arctic Circle, which encloses the area of the Arctic . Dark, ‘midnight’ blue also represent the six months of night, whilst the colour cream represents the six months of light.

Colin Souness at Shackletons grave on South Georgia

Colin Souness Arctic kilt close-up web