St Columba's Church, Gruline, Mull, Scotland had a Church roof problem. To solve the problem will cost the congregation £20,000 and a fundraising appeal had to be launched. The Church came up with an unusual fundraising idea, a tartan (distinctive check design from Scotland often made up into cloth) for St Columba of Iona.This year is the 1400th anniversary of Columba's death and the anniversary will be marked by many special events attracting thousands of pilgrims and visitors to Mull and Iona this year.
A tartan using the natural colours of the island was designed and woven by the tartan historian and handloom weaver Peter MacDonald of Crieff. The tartan echoes the story of St Columba and of Iona. The colours include: dark blue for the sea of Ireland and Iona; pale blue for the shallows around the isle; cream for the white shell sand; brown for the seaweed and lichen; pale green for the boggy pastures; dark green for the grass; grey for the ancient rocks and purple for the heather flower. Within the design is a clearly visible distinctive cross, symbolic of the Church Columba established. Ten yards of the precious fabric have now been woven, and have been blessed by the Bishop of Argyll. The Church now hopes that others will use this unique design and help to keep the roof on St Columba's at Gruline, Mull.