Harris Tweed Hebrides (HTH) has welcomed many distinguished visitors to Shawbost Mill – and this week added a former Miss Russia to the roll of honour.

Alina Charova, who won the title in 2016, was one of a group of media influencers who visited the company under the auspices of VisitBritain Russia, which is part of the UK Embassy in Moscow.

She now runs a fashion and beauty blog which has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram and over 600,000 on its YouTube channel. The group also included a writer from Aeroflot’s in-flight magazine and other leading bloggers.

Marina Shatalova from VisitBritain Russia said: “The purpose of the trip is to promote Scotland as a unique tourist destination along with Scottish fashion heritage. We hope to inspire Russian travellers to choose Scotland as part of their itineraries.”

The group also visited Edinburgh and Elgin. They found the tour of the mill, hosted by HTH sales director Margaret Ann MacLeod, “really interesting and unique”, said Alina, and they were immediately posting images and enthusiastic commentary about Harris Tweed and Shawbost Mill for their huge Russian audiences.

HTH chairman, Brian Wilson, said: “Russia ticks all the boxes as a potentially significant market for Harris Tweed and we have developed sales there over several years with great support from the British Embassy.

“The important point of a visit like this is that the discerning Russian audience will be introduced to Harris Tweed as a luxury product by people who have seen at first hand the complexity of the process, the skills that go into it and the place from which it comes.”