IT marks the end of an era for the family-owned firm known as the "guardians of tweed".

Campbells of Beauly, specialist suppliers of estate tweets, a traditional herringbone pattern with a basic check, will change hands next week for the first time in its 150-year history.

The company, in Beauly, Inverness-shire, has been bought for an undisclosed sum by two well-known northern textile families - the Sugdens and Brookes.

Fourth generation owner James Campbell and his sisters, Catriona and Miriam, who will hand over the reins at their premises - the Highland Tweed House - acknowledge they are well beyond the usual retirement age.

Mr Campbell, who joined the business in 1963, said: "We have a lot of mixed feelings. After so many years in the business, it will be a wrench."

However, the trio is pleased that although the new owners will introduce some modernisation they are keen to continue the company's traditional feel and to retain the Campbell name.

"A big plus for us is that they want to trade as Campbells of Beauly and keep it going very much in the way we have," Mr Campbell said.

"They are going to run it as a family business, so it ticks all of the right boxes."

The business employs nine staff between tailoring, warehouse and retail. The new owners are keen on the tailoring side of the business and hope to train up an understudy for cutter Tom Owen who is himself approaching retirement age.

"They are in it for the long term and see the value of the bespoke tailoring," Mr Campbell said.

The family business, which was founded in 1858, was initially known as Hepburn and Company but changed its name to Campbell and Co in the early 20th century following the marriage of Margaret Hepburn and James Campbell, Mr Campbell's grandparents.

Historically, it has held royal warrants for the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) and also the Queen Mother until her death in 2002.

The business serves customers from all over the world including America, Australia, Japan and China.

The new owners are James Sugden, the former boss of Johnstons of Elgin, and Charlie Brooke, the scion of a historic Yorkshire wool cloth manufacturer, John Brooke and Sons, which was founded in 1541 and is the oldest family firm in Britain.