About Ruth Hyde, weaver 

In memoriam

When Ruth Hyde was a young teenager, she watched a film which shaped the course of her life; not the much-praised feature her mother was determined she should see, but part of the supporting programme called simply "Sequoia". Ruth vowed to herself that day that, should she ever be so fortunate as to inherit the family home, she would do her utmost to ensure the continued existence of its 18-acre woodland on the eastern slopes of Caerketton.

Thirty years later, Erraid Wood was hers, but at the cost of the comfortable income she might have had, had the property been sold. Her first venture into conservation was exciting, but in the end disappointing. Refreshingly articulate and perceptive where feelings were concerned, she never learnt how to get her views across to businessmen or bureaucrats, and was persuaded to have one fifth of the wood clear-felled and replanted with a block of larch - a lovely tree, but not what she had intended. And when she found the foresters starting to burn vast quantities of small branches from the old wood she was appalled at the waste and stopped them. Result: many hard-working Saturdays over the next few years with her friends helping to stack the old wood and care for the young trees, followed by hilarious feasts in the studio where her father, the painter Wm C Crawford, had designed and built race-winning yachts.

riding lesson  
Ruth Hyde with our son

Ruth's generosity was unbounded. Eggs from her hens, vegetables and fruit from her field and greenhouse, superb floor rugs from her loom (they won prizes at the Highland Show) were given to her friends, or sold with little return for her work. Spare rooms in her house were occupied by a succession of unusual people who seemed at first to share her values, her care for the world of nature and particularly horses and dogs; but for every one who 'took advantage' of her there were many who became true friends or treasured memories. She has gone from us now, but, protected by an agreement with the National Trust for Scotland and managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, thanks to Ruth, Erraid Wood remains.

a rug woven by Ruth Hyde
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