News About the Tinkers’ Heart

News about the Heart

March, 2017



Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh


Sat 10 Jun – Sat 1 Jul

Event Information

An exhibition celebrating the history and future of Scotland’s Travellers. Headed by renowned writer and storyteller Jess Smith, Heart of the Travellers is a charitable organisation who are dedicated to conserving and recording the stories, songs, genealogies and history of the travelling community, as well as preserving the only physical monument to Scottish Travellers, The Tinkers’ Heart. This rich and ancient history is shared with the Scottish people through this major project.

Event Information

Scottish Storytelling Centre
Storytelling Court
Sat 10 Jun – Sat 1 Jul 
Full Price – 0.00 
Start Time & Duration:
10am – 6pm 

Additional Info:
Free, non- ticketed . Sometimes the Centre’s exhibition space is not accessible to the public because of a private function booking. Please call ahead to check.

HOTT: A Sense of Identity

It has taken HOTT almost two years but at long last our Sense of Identity will be shared in June. Many generous people from the Travelling community opened their hearts and their homes to share their story with us. Initially we had planned to present this to schools and universities and of course that is still our aim. However the depth of honesty and cultural stories are so unique we decided to share with everyone. The recordings were over 8 hours long but it is impossible to put every word (wish we could) into an hour long DVD so we’ve condensed, leaving special gems.

Our exhibition is all about the culture and we, HOTT (Heart of the Travellers) would be so pleased if you could visit at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and take a look. I know I speak for all the wonderful people involved when I say, “you are most welcome.”

Jess Smith

November 24th, 2016 -

Jess Smith on the Stravaig

(With Davie in tow!)

Jess has been out and about visiting folk, sharing stories and songs, drinking tea and blethering about her Traveller culture and the fight to preserve the Tinkers’ Heart.

If you’re in the Oban area  (24th November) and fancy listening to Jess / joining in with some singing, she’s at the library at 7pm.

Go on – you’ll have a great time!


October 25th, 2016 -

Update on the Story about Signage Below


One of the Tinkers’ Heart supporters, Craig Finlay, has suggested that as many of us as possible email the leader of Argyll & Bute Council. If you’d like to add your voice,  Craig has put together an email that can be copied and sent:


Craig Finlay feel free to copy and paste the content, then email to the Leader of Argyll and Bute Council at the email address, below:

Date: 25 October 2016 20:54:17 BST
To: “” <>
Subject: The Tinkers’ Heart

Dear Councillor Walsh

I write to you in your capacity as Leader of Argyll and Bute Council to ask that you please take steps to have suitable signage placed at, and around, the road network at The Tinkers’ Heart near the junction with the A815 and B839 roads.

The Tinkers’ Heart was recently scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland as a site of national significance and this month received national attention when the lead campaigner to preserve the Heart, Jess Smith, was shortlisted for a Scottish Heritage Angel Award.

Jess works with a group called Heart Of The Traveller to care for this site, and many people feel that The Tinkers’ Heart deserves more respect from Argyll and Bute Council. Having appropriate directional signage would be a major step by the Council to achieving this.

I would be grateful if you could correspond with the necessary officers to pursue this request.


Your  name
Your Location


We hope you feel able to support us in this by sending the above email and thank you for the same.

October 25th, 2016

We can’t have signage for The Tinkers’ Heart  because the road is – at present – considered ‘too dangerous’ and HOTT are talking to Argyll & Bute Council about a way forward on this matter.


But wait, what’s this?


Now there’s a revelation.
Due to ‘health and safety issues’ the Tinker’s heart cannot have signage because the Strachur road is deemed too dangerous to erect signs at the Heart because there is no parking facilities on this road.
Well then, why does this sign erected to Prince Charlie’s Cairn stand on this very dangerous stretch of roadway; the arterial Road to the Isles?
I can see it was probably erected and paid for by the ‘Forty-Five Association but it too does not fit ‘health and safety issues.’
There are no car parking facilities, indeed if you do stop on the continual white lines, hazard lights must be on.
Do Argyll & Bute Council know that in Lochaber this sign exists? I’m guessing they do.
Let it remain, I say, it’s very special because it points to the place where Charlie left for France – but can we have signage for the Tinker’s Heart too?

Jess Smith


October 18th,  2016

Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2016: Update

The winners were announced on the 18th October.  Sadly, Jess didn’t win in her category but the fact that her work on the Tinkers’ Heart has been recognised by this nomination is fantastic in itself.

Congratulations to the Orkney project who won in the ‘B’ category – and congratulations to all the other category winners / nominations too. There’s an amazing diversity of work across Scotland to save various aspects of our heritage, thanks to all of you.

The short film below is a lovely piece by the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards Body about Jess and the work she has done to protect and cherish the Tinkers’ Heart:


September, 2016

Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2016

We’re absolutely delighted to learn that Jess Smith has been nominated for a Scottish Angel Heritage Award for her years of dedication to protecting the Tinkers’ Heart.

These awards are new in Scotland – they were established in 2014. The awards are a joint venture between  Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Government, Archaeology Scotland and Scottish Civic Trust, supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

There are five categories of Award and Jess has been nominated for:

Nominated for Category B: Caring and Protecting - Volunteer-led involvement in saving/restoring heritage sites and buildings.

It’s all very exciting and very well-deserved. The winners will be announced later this month. Read more about Jess’s nomination / the Awards here: Scottish Heritage Angel Awards

Fingers crossed for you, Jess!



Historic Scotland reached a decision about the Tinkers’ Heart – and scheduled it as a monument of National Importance. From Historic Scotland:

The Tinker’s Heart is a site of high cultural significance in three main areas:

1)It gives us a great understanding of the traditions and material heritage of Scottish Travellers.

2)It is a rare example of a permanent physical monument of Scottish Travellers, and

3) it holds a high significance in the consciousness of Gypsy/Travellers and the people of Argyll as a symbol of Scottish Travellers and their heritage.

In light of this, we intend to place Tinkers’ Heart on the ‘Schedule’ as a monument of National Importance.

Full letter here:   Historic Scotland Letter

The part Scottish Travellers have played in the history of our country is recognised by this decision. There’s a long way to go and a lot of stories to tell. It will be great working with Here We Are to tell our part of the story in the Argyll area – we’re looking forward to it.

But what a start this is!

How do people feel? Click on the link below!

Leave a Reply

The Tinkers' Heart – A National Monument and the Sacred Site of Scottish Travellers