Using The Plaid: A Traditional Scottish Carry

Using The Plaid: A Traditional Scottish Carry

We're pleased to be part of a rich heritage of carrying in Scotland and whilst researching the Plaid carry we have been reminded of the importance of passing on the tradition of carrying to our family and friends.

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We loved how the majority of the people we spoke with were familiar with the Plaid, and could recall seeing it being done often, but interestingly few could remember how to do it themselves!

Those few that did know, not only remembered but had carried their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren in it.

What is a Plaid Baby Carrier or Sling?

A Plaid is simply a woven shawl, usually in Tartan. A square that was then folded in half to make a triangle piece to be used as a carrying aid. It was a multi-purpose piece of cloth, used as bedding, for picnics, for carrying children, and for keeping warm.

Carrying with a Plaid - Image Courtesy of the Highland Folk Museum

When we asked about the method & how to carry with them, it became clear that our 'best practice' now differs from theirs back then. “Just tuck it in was mainly the response. We did get a step by step lesson from a lovely lady called May from Dalry, and so our technique in the video is from the West Coast of Scotland, but there seems to have been lots of variations across our country and we'd love to see how you were taught, if it differs from our discovery!

Learning about the practice of carrying years ago was so encouraging - a simple piece of cloth provided so much for each family, and it was amazing to hear too how all of these women recounted bonding as a key benefit of using the Plaid. We hope you'll all be interested to give it a go and try babywearing as many parents did in Scotland, back in the day!

Written by Jess Hippey

Jess is a mum to two boys and a Baby Carrying Consultant based in Aberdeen, Scotland.