Igloo adventure.

McNair shirts igloos night

We’re all about locally sourced materials and craft at McNair. Our co-founder Neil has also been known to camp out at high altitude whilst exploring the Alps. These two passions don’t really have a lot to do with each other do they?

Well, er, call him a bit daft, but at the end of last winter Neil and a few of our McNair Shirt ambassadors were invited to join Ed Leigh for an Alpine adventure. Their overnight accommodation was as locally sourced and crafted as it’s possible to get, Neil explains:

“The mission was to construct and live in an igloo base camp, comprising of 3 modules, 2 sleeping and one mess pod in a high altitude, remote, location in the Swiss Alps”

Yes, igloos. For anyone who hasn’t slept in one, (me included), igloos take a lot of effort and time, and have to be built properly to do their job (a bit like our shirts – see what we did there?).

Neil goes on:

“Our days started at 5am, hiking in the dark and riding new lines at sunrise before returning to camp for breakfast.”

The Igloo adventure will be featured in a new British Snowboard documentary this Autumn and look out for articles in the Financial Times through the Winter season.

We’ll also be sharing more shots and films over the next few months.

mcnair shirts igloo adventure lewis

igloo adventure walking

With love. McNair shirts Fortnum & Mason.

For many years Fortnum & Mason has been the royal grocer and one of London’s swankiest places to shop so we were very flattered and surprised when they asked to stock a range of McNair Shirts for the next few months. We’re part of a collection curated by the guys at the With Love Project. All the brands featured produce their wares with love (see what they did there?), we’re proud to feature alongside other businesses who are driven by ethics and craft.

So if you’re in and around London over the summer please pop in and have a look. Alongside our merino wool, corduroy and moleskin shirts are AJOTO’s stunning wallets and pens, Banton Frameworks handmade glasses frames, and Norman Walsh’s wonderful footwear.

McNair at Fortnum and masons 1

The display is at the main Piccadilly Fortnum & Mason store – details here.

How Nature Inspires Better Clothing Design – Co-founder Neil McNair speaks at the Do Lectures

We were lucky enough to be invited to speak at last year’s Do Lectures.

If you have a spare 30 mins please grab a brew and watch Neil explain our thinking.

We’ll let the Do Lectures introduce the film:

“Neil wants you to stop bringing plastic into the mountains. Living and working in the mountains for the last 18 years has meant that he’s worn just about every conceivable ‘technical’ fabric in the wildest weather. Cocooning himself in fabrics designed to create a barrier against the elements simply doesn’t work in the long-term. McNair’s clever, enhanced Merino keeps you comfortable and still in-touch with the elements. Plus it’s natural, sustainable and effective. It’s the unplastic jacket.

Neil has been a British Snowboard Trainer for over 12 years and during this time he has held the elected position BASI Snowboard Director for 2 full terms. McNair shirts is a passion that co-exists with his Snowboarding. He was born and raised during his informative years in Scotland, home is now the French alps with his daughter.”

(Content originally appeared on the Do Lectures site).

The Boards & the Bees

Rebecca Marshall, The Bee Chick - Wearing the McNair Mountain shirt

Rebecca Marshall, also known as The Bee Chick, is one of the youngest beekeepers in the country, a buy British advocate, and also a very keen snowboarder. We love what she is doing, so for a recent boarding trip to Canada, she took her Mid-Weight and Heavyweight McNair Shirts to compare. Read what she had to say about them here.

We also caught up with her this week while she was snowboarding in the French Alps to talk bees, boards and the farming life.

You’ve just returned from Canada on a snowboarding trip. How was the boarding out there?
My trip to Canada was a surprise from my cousin, so it was only a short six-day trip. I managed to get a weekend snowboarding at Lake Louise in Banff and then had a three-day city break in Calgary for the rest of the trip. Lake Louise, the Rockies and Banff are absolutely stunning places – the vastness of the place blows your mind, glacier after glacier and just so much space. The fact the people are so friendly, welcoming and laid back brings such a great atmosphere too.

You were testing two of our shirts: the Mid-weight and the Heavyweight. You’ve written a great article about it… but what were the key differences between the two?
The main differences between the two are that the Heavyweight is for seriously cold weather, and maybe doing less active cold-weather activities. The Mid-weight is more of an active jacket for cold weather activities, or a city break shirt to throw on over a hoodie.

How does boarding in the shirts compare with the usual style of snowboarding jacket?

I am a person who seriously feels the cold. For the last 11 years of snowboarding I’ve tried various different brands of jackets, but always had to wear approximately five layers, and I still feel the cold. 
The McNair Shirt has amazed me as a snowboarding jacket. I’ve been snowboarding in under -20 degrees and never worn more than two layers underneath it. I ride in the Heavyweight with a thin merino hoodie, and a thin merino baselayer. With the Mid-weight, I ride with a thin, down midlayer jacket and a thin merino baselayer. You feel NO wind through either of these jackets.

Beekeeping is your main work. What attracted you to keeping bees in the first place?
Seeing my father’s passion about it encouraged me into it, and also my love of nature and the natural world.

How many bees do you keep?
I currently run a business with my family, and we have 250 honey production hives and 650 mini nucs for rearing queen bees.

You’re passionate about spreading the word about farming. Why do you think it’s important for younger people to get into farming?
Getting younger people into the bee farming business is pretty vital now, as the average age for a commercial bee farmer is 66 in the UK. If we don’t get a younger generation into it soon, we will be unable to supply British honey to the supermarkets and have to import even more honey than we already do.

And is beekeeping and farming a job or a way of life?

It is my career, and job, but definitely also a way of life. I work solidly in the UK from April through to October, then in the winter I tend to follow summer about working in Australia or New Zealand with bees there, or alternatively have a break from the bees and head to the French Alps for a few months.

Rebecca Marshall, The Bee Chick - Wearing the McNair Mountain shirt in Slawit blue

The Bee Chick, Canada

McNair shirts at the Handmade Trail. Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival 1pm – 6pm, Saturday 21st February.

Handmade trail poster

This Saturday (21st February) we’re opening our mill doors. We’re a proud part of the Handmade trail in our home town of Slaithwaite, Yorkshire. Here’s what the event blurb says:

“The Handmade Trail will be a showcase of art, crafts and culinary delights, featuring local artists, businesses and all that is wonderfully creative about the Colne Valley.

There will be lots to discover end explore right across the village, including pop up stalls, art exhibitions, open studios, artisan food and drink, locally made goods, music, and outdoor crafts and activities.

The trail takes place 1pm – 6pm and leads up to the Moonraking Finale with the raking of the moon, followed by a candle-lit lantern procession around the village.

Handmade Trail brochures (including trail map) are now available to buy from the Green Valley Grocer and Slaithwaite Emporium.”

So if you’re not sure where sunny Slaithwaite is click on our contact page, and maybe see you Saturday.

trail_montage

The McNair Merino Mountain Shirt AW14/15

merino-mountain-shirt-video-screen-grab

So here is a little film hopefully showing off a few of the features of our shirts. Have we mentioned that we think that they are the best merino mountain shirts in the world? What? We’ve mentioned that? Oh, ok.

Remember, if you want sneaky access to offers and when new colours are going to be available sign yourself up onto our mailing list. Winter is coming…

The Guardian says wool is great. (And they’re like dead brainy n that).

merino-wool-shirt-mcnair

“Another sustainable, high-performance option is also one of the oldest: wool. Wool has several sustainable attributes: it is rapidly renewable, biodegradable, recyclable, and can be produced organically. There are also new wool traceability standards and animal welfare standards to track its production.

In terms of performance, wool is something of a miracle fabric. Highly durable, with inherent flame-resistant properties, it also has some natural water repellency. While not as slippery and oil-repellent as a perfluorinated finish, wool’s performance attributes are laudable without the added chemistry.”

Link to the full article – worth a read.