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TITLE
The peat-cutting process
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_FISHERGIRLS_17
DATE OF RECORDING
1984
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1961
KEYWORDS
peats
fuel
audio

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Peat was once used as a fuel source throughout the Highlands and Islands. Once cut, the blocks of peat would be laid out to dry. Some families had their peat stack by the house but others would leave theirs on the moor and would only take peat home as they needed it. In this audio extract, a group of Highland women remember the peat-cutting process. [A balk or bauk was an unploughed ridge].

They used to put them up in threes, to start with, don't they, to dry?

They put them up on a balk in threes.

And then they, as they dry, they put them into bigger heaps.

Oh yes, when they cut them they'd throw them onto the bank. They'd just take the thing - they've got a thing for, that's specially made, for cutting peats.

What was it called again?

A Tusker.

It's for cutting peats.

T.u.s.k.e.r. Remember Reny who was here got it in her foot? Her husband took it down on her foot and she was lame for quite a while.

Course they used to make huge stacks. It was beautifully stacked up, remember?

Yes. Then they'd bring them home and they put them at the end of the house. The stack, that's for the winter fuel.

Tell, me. Do you remember how to make a peat fire?

Yes, well I've seen it being made, and it never goes out. It never goes out. They do, they smoor it, they call it smooring it, at night, before they go to bed. And that's the peat fire on the hearth, on the floor, in the blackhouses.

There was some houses that the fire wasn't out for years. Yes, it was said that there was two crofters' houses and they said that the fire wasn't out for - it's a - one was over a hundred years.

Oh my goodness!

Yes, they were old people.

A hundred years?

Yes.

Lots of stacks of peat!

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The peat-cutting process

1980s

peats; fuel; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Fisher Lassies

Peat was once used as a fuel source throughout the Highlands and Islands. Once cut, the blocks of peat would be laid out to dry. Some families had their peat stack by the house but others would leave theirs on the moor and would only take peat home as they needed it. In this audio extract, a group of Highland women remember the peat-cutting process. [A balk or bauk was an unploughed ridge].<br /> <br /> They used to put them up in threes, to start with, don't they, to dry?<br /> <br /> They put them up on a balk in threes.<br /> <br /> And then they, as they dry, they put them into bigger heaps.<br /> <br /> Oh yes, when they cut them they'd throw them onto the bank. They'd just take the thing - they've got a thing for, that's specially made, for cutting peats.<br /> <br /> What was it called again?<br /> <br /> A Tusker.<br /> <br /> It's for cutting peats.<br /> <br /> T.u.s.k.e.r. Remember Reny who was here got it in her foot? Her husband took it down on her foot and she was lame for quite a while. <br /> <br /> Course they used to make huge stacks. It was beautifully stacked up, remember? <br /> <br /> Yes. Then they'd bring them home and they put them at the end of the house. The stack, that's for the winter fuel.<br /> <br /> Tell, me. Do you remember how to make a peat fire?<br /> <br /> Yes, well I've seen it being made, and it never goes out. It never goes out. They do, they smoor it, they call it smooring it, at night, before they go to bed. And that's the peat fire on the hearth, on the floor, in the blackhouses.<br /> <br /> There was some houses that the fire wasn't out for years. Yes, it was said that there was two crofters' houses and they said that the fire wasn't out for - it's a - one was over a hundred years. <br /> <br /> Oh my goodness! <br /> <br /> Yes, they were old people.<br /> <br /> A hundred years? <br /> <br /> Yes. <br /> <br /> Lots of stacks of peat!