South Scotland

Paint spill sparks Alistair Taylor's award-winning idea

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Media captionAlistair Taylor came up with his "ladder limb" after spilling paint while working on his farmhouse

A Galloway farmer has beaten off opposition from two multinational companies to win a coveted prize in the world of DIY.

Alistair Taylor's homemade device to attach items such as paint cans to ladders won UK Hand Tool of the Year.

His "ladder limb" is now attracting global sales and interest.

It all started two years ago when Mr Taylor was painting his farmhouse when he lost grip of the pot which hit the ground, splashing paint all around.

It went through an open door and into the house itself.

Somewhat encouraged by a wife's displeasure, he decided to try to make something to attach the pot to a ladder.

He found scrap items in his workshop that offered potential.

It worked out and the job was finished without further mishap.

What he made was a tapered tubular device - about an inch in diameter - with a karabiner hook on one end.

The thin end of the tube pushes into the holes at ladder has at every rung - the item to be held is then clipped safely to the karabiner.

Later, he tried to buy a proprietary equivalent of what he had rustled up but found that no such thing existed.

It led to him patenting the idea, getting it properly designed and raising the funding to have it manufactured commercially.

The ladder limb is now attracting keen interest from well beyond the painting and decorating world.

Mr Taylor's son David has given up a banking job in Glasgow to join the fledgling business, which is dispatching ladder limbs all over this country and overseas.

A distribution deal for the US has become likely after it beat contenders from industry giants Stanley and Irwin to be named hand tool of the year at an awards ceremony in Manchester.

The dispatches sent out from the farmhouse kitchen are labelled proudly with a Saltire sticker - but for cost reasons they are actually made in China.

It is the only part of the story Mr Taylor would prefer to change.

He could have chosen to cry over spilt paint - but instead he came up with a brainwave.

Thanks to it, he is now climbing the ladder of business success and could yet end up laughing all the way to the bank.