Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: Steel Bonnets – Whisky made for Reivers

iu.pngWe at Clan Carruthers Society – International as official represesantives of our Clan have been invited to a tasting of this brand new blend of whisky from Lakeland Distillary. A whisky that is receiving some very positive reviews. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to introduce it to the rest of the clan. To all Carruthers whisky buffs, enjoy!

The Border Marches of the 13th -17th centuries, where the Crowns of England and Scotland meet. A frontier beyond the control of Kings and the Law. The people of the Border Marches did not see themselves as either English or Scottish and therefore developed a certain independence of spirit that set them against the world. Survival of those both sides of the border was brought about through allegiance to Kin not Kingdom. Families fought and stole and killed to live.

To rob is to ‘reive’ and from that were born ‘The Border Reivers’. Sometimes a handful, at others three thousand in number. Hard men on horseback ride out into the darkness, under the cover of long winter nights. Thieving the livestock of neighbours on either side of the border. Safe at home in their Bastle Houses and Pele Towers, protected on their sturdy ‘Galloway’ or ‘Hobelar’ ponies by their ‘Brigardine’ light armour, ‘lang spears’ and ‘steel bonnets’. Fearsome men for turbulent times.

Noble and simple, robber and lawman, soldier and farmer, outlaw and peasant. The characteristics of these border people created a strong sense of community and a unique sense of belonging not replicated elsewhere. Today in the 21ST century, many of those same families are still living and working in the border marches. A testament to family, community and the will to survive.


Clan Carruthers is a clan of the Scottish West Marches, based in south-west Dumfriesshire. The home of Clan Carruthers is just 50 miles from The Lakes Distillery, one of the finest whisky distilleries in England and the only one in the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site of outstanding natural beauty.

For centuries, the Marches on either side of the Scottish-English boundary were areas of mixed allegiance and alliences, where families switched sides at whim – they were only loyal to kin, not kingdom. The fluid nature of the border region was fertile ground for the Border Reivers, bands of riders nicknamed the ‘Steel Bonnets’ for the helmets they wore.

As a nod to their history, region and people, The Lakes Distillery has launched Steel Bonnets, the very first English and Scotch blended whisky. This ‘water of life’ celebrates the union of nations, where past hostilities are forgotten in pursuit of the greatest things in life – a celebration of family, friends and humanity.

So, we welcome all of Clan Carruthers to raise a dram to those blessed mixed allegiances that make families and friends what they are today.

Visit for more information or to take a tour of the distillery.

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