The Shieling drying tent

September 13, 2021

David Gracie shares his entrepreneurial story, as well as a business opportunity for a climate conscious entrepreneur to take forward.

By a lucky accident, I’ve discovered a good way to help to save the planet.  But I’m 86, so I’m looking for one or more young entrepreneurs to help take things forward.

The Shieling drying tent dries clothes outside for free, whatever the weather.  Hang it, forget it, just drying in the rain.  Who needs a tumble dryer?  Save money, save the planet.


The Dryer was born on the Isle of Mull, where we offered holidays in Shieling cottage tents, long before glamping began in England.  We designed and made the Shielings ourselves.

Besides Shielings, cottages and camping, we offered sailing and other activities.  Our boats included a lovely antique clinker lifeboat from a Clyde Puffer.  It was damaged one day on the slip at Castle Duart, stronghold of the Macleans.

To mend it, I had to dry the timbers.  How could I do that on Mull in the winter?


Answer: put a Shieling tent over it, so wind passing the open ends made a through draft.  It all worked a treat. 


The Dryer was born, and has been drying clothes and many other things for us and customers ever since.

Billy and Nicky McClymont have bought our Mull businessThey get very many sparkling reviews. Billy worked for us when 15.  Free to develop the Dryer, I made and sold a dozen from our home in Edinburgh before Covid stalled the project.


A Dryer consists of a frame and a cover with lines and other ancillaries 

The frames are of galvanised steel tube and klamps.  We currently buy the tubes cut to length. 

If we had premises, we could buy in bulk and cut the steel ourselves, saving costs.

The covers have been made at home so far.  I’d like to make this batch at home too for cost, quality, cleanliness, experience, and control. I made and sold a dozen from our home in Edinburgh before Covid stalled the project.  I now plan another batch of 14 to be ready for COP26 on 01 November.


We have about 40 current Dryer users.  They are enthusiastic in their praise, or you’ll find videos here


At present, enquiries come from word of mouth, Facebook, YouTube, mailshots and use of Dryers on Mull and other campsites and establishments.  I hope COP26 will get the Dryer much more widely known, so that it is routinely found on search engines. 

Arrangements and the future

The COP26 batch is intended to be an exploratory joint venture between an entrepreneur and myself.  If successful, it might give us both confidence to make a longer term arrangement. For example, the entrepreneur might work as Chief Executive to me as Chairman.  Moira and I might fund premises or other developments.  As an example, we retain the right to promote Shieling cottage tents except on Mull.

Contact details

I very much hope these ideas are of interest.  If so, please email a brief CV and any questions to  If you wish, I will send you Moira’s and my CVs in return.  Then we can meet by Zoom or in person.

Bright Red Triangle