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  • Writer's pictureNorse Stone

Home is where your hearth is

This week the Norse Stone team should be proud as they completed and delivered 200 hearth stones to a very good customer in 1 full lorry load. This is not only a huge milestone and a first for the company but also for Caithness too! For the past few years we've been promoting Caithness stone in Scotland as an indigenous, sustainable, durable and very stylish hearth stone. The results have been amazing. We now supply the majority of fireplace and stove supplier/installers in the Highlands and are hoping to increase our sales within the central belt this quarter. The dream for me is to have our native material at forefront of the Scottish hearth market where it belongs ahead of Italian, Brazilian and Spanish slate imports. I remember the first Caithness stone hearth I produced like it was yesterday. I was 19 years old and had never so much as thought about the many uses of Caithness stone outside of its use as a dyking stone, field dividers and paving slabs within the county it's name derived from. My mentor was a tough guy, some may have called him a man's man, which may no longer be politically correct but no harm meant in the expression. I always thought of it to mean the type of man who would take no sh1t from a young scallywag and was respected in the industry of which many men worked. As I walked down the quarry for my first time I pointed at a polished stone hearth and asked "is that black marble" thinking that materials were being imported, I couldn't believe the finish and pattern was that of "Caithness flag", a name widely used for the material within the county. I was swiftly put into place and told "NO, that's Caithness ston ya dafty". Ston being the Caithness accent version of stone. After that moment all I wanted to do was polish some Caithness ston for myself so I asked my mentor to show me how. Back then taking the mickey out of the youngsters was a ritual, and one that I was about to learn at my expense. I was handed the final polishing pad of the process and left to see how I would manage. It was an impossible task and I was set up to fail from the off! Anyway, never being scared of a challenge I edged that hearth until my hands were shaking, and all the time thinking what am I doing wrong! Then the guys returned from lunch to see that I hadn't given up and I was put right, we all had a right laugh about it at my expense and carried on with the day. That memory will never fade, and not because I could hardly lift a cup of tea that night, but because I turned a corner that day and found my passion for Caithness stone. Now having built my own team of great individuals who share the same passion, there's no telling who's living room a beautiful Caithness hearth could end up in! Michael Ronaldson, Norse Stone MD

To find out more about our Caithness flagstone hearths, get in touch with our team and follow us on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn.


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