Tartan takeover greets passengers at Heathrow

Heathrow has renamed its runway in honour of the Scottish inventor of tarmac, John McAdam, as part of its Made in Scotland Week, which celebrates everything Scotland has done for the airport. A sign is installed on the spot where the very first piece of tarmac was laid at Heathrow in 1946. (Picture: Nigel Davies.)
Heathrow has renamed its runway in honour of the Scottish inventor of tarmac, John McAdam, as part of its Made in Scotland Week, which celebrates everything Scotland has done for the airport. A sign is installed on the spot where the very first piece of tarmac was laid at Heathrow in 1946. (Picture: Nigel Davies.)

Passengers arriving at Heathrow last week could be forgiven for thinking they had been diverted to an airport north of the Border thanks to a tartan takeover.

To mark St Andrew’s Day, the airport rolled out a ton of tartan, which stretched from the runway to the restaurants, to celebrate all that Scotland has done for Heathrow and Scotland’s great innovators, from McAdam (the inventor of the road surfacing material known best known as Tarmac) to Watson-Watt (developer of radar) and Graham-Bell (telephone inventor) to Logie-Baird (creator of the television).

So, on St Andrew’s Day, Heathrow tagged symbolic items in the airport with a specially-commissioned tartan. Even food in the restaurants were given a Scottish twist.

But it’s not just engineers, scientists and inventors, Scotland’s natural produce and food & drink maestros are being recognised too.

Talking about creating the tartan, Scottish designer Jilli Blackwood said: “It’s been really exciting working on this project with Heathrow. Being asked to work with the airport’s iconic colours was really quite challenging and forced me to think outside of the box. The final design is instantly recognisable to all as a tartan, yet one based on such bold and contemporary colours. It’s a brilliant symbol of Scotland and Heathrow’s relationship and has been used in some really interesting ways.”

In addition to the tartan takeover, Heathrow’s runway, has been renamed the John McAdam Runway.

Various symbolic items at the airport were decked out in the specially commissioned tartan. (Picture: Nigel Davies)

Various symbolic items at the airport were decked out in the specially commissioned tartan. (Picture: Nigel Davies)

Mike Cantley, chairman at VisitScotland, said: “It is wonderful that Heathrow Airport is honouring John McAdam in this unique way - naming a runway is a truly fitting tribute for the man who invented Tarmac.”

Acclaimed tartan artist and designer Jilli Blackwood has created a bespoke tartan for Heathrow's Made in Scotland week. (Picture: Nigel Davies.)

Acclaimed tartan artist and designer Jilli Blackwood has created a bespoke tartan for Heathrow's Made in Scotland week. (Picture: Nigel Davies.)