Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Threshing season in Caithness (1 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS_CROFTING_07
PLACENAME
Canisbay
DISTRICT
Northern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Canisbay
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
2758
KEYWORDS
crofting
crofters
crofter
croft
crofts
threshing
thrashing
steam engines
steam engine
story telling
storytelling
audio

Get Adobe Flash player

Caithness crofts were very similar to those in the other crofting counties of Scotland: Argyll, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland. The crofter kept a few animals - usually one or more cows, some sheep, poultry and a pig. The horse was important as a beast of burden until it was largely replaced by small tractors from the end of the 1940s onwards. The usual crops were oats (always called corn in Caithness), potatoes, turnips and hay, with varying amounts of vegetables. In this audio extract, a Canisbay crofter remembers the excitement of the threshing season.

'An then the next event that took place wis, at the croft, wis the threshin, when the big steam engine came. Oh at wis a big day that. Everybody wis layin in supplies for this men, because ye hid to feed them, this two boys that came wi the mill. Ah don't know, they must hidden some feedin but they came wi this mill, this big mill an steam engine, oh to us it's just, it wis a, it wis really the day, especially if they came on a Saturday. An they pulled this in at night an they came up then - they hid a caravan, well, they called it a van then, but we'd call it now a kind a caravan, it wis oh a pretty crude kind o thing it wis - but they slept in is, there wis a fire in it.

An this boys came up an they used to come in, when they arrived wi their steam engine an mill an van - their little van for sleepin in - they'd to come in then an get their, well if they were in time, they got their dinner. Goodness knows why they did that, they could have hid a dinner just aboot an hour afore at, but they still - it seemed to be the recognised thing, they got another dinner. They came in an got their dinner, an they sat on then an everybody gathered in round - there wis no wireless much, no, there were no wireless or anythin like that - an what happened then, ye all, we's bairns, we used to listen to them tellin their tales. They would gaither in roon the fire, at night, an tell all the yarns aboot all their experiences or places they'd been an goodness knows what. Till us it wis just, oh, great.

We used to sit, maybe we'd sit until eleven o'clock at night, an then they'd get their tea an they'd go back oot'll their caravan. An we'd look oot at the window then to see - goodness knows what we were expectin to see - but we would look oot an they must have puttin paraffin on their fire because it wis a small funnel that wis in it an ye'd see the flames - it wis like an oil rig, ye'd see the flames standin right oot it, aboot three feet because they'd put a lot o paraffin on their stove or whatever they've got, an get the fire goin. An we thought is wis great, this'

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Threshing season in Caithness (1 of 2)

CAITHNESS: Canisbay

1980s

crofting; crofters; crofter; croft; crofts; threshing; thrashing; steam engines; steam engine; story telling; storytelling; audio

Highland Libraries

Caithness Recordings: Crofting & Farming

Caithness crofts were very similar to those in the other crofting counties of Scotland: Argyll, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland. The crofter kept a few animals - usually one or more cows, some sheep, poultry and a pig. The horse was important as a beast of burden until it was largely replaced by small tractors from the end of the 1940s onwards. The usual crops were oats (always called corn in Caithness), potatoes, turnips and hay, with varying amounts of vegetables. In this audio extract, a Canisbay crofter remembers the excitement of the threshing season.<br /> <br /> 'An then the next event that took place wis, at the croft, wis the threshin, when the big steam engine came. Oh at wis a big day that. Everybody wis layin in supplies for this men, because ye hid to feed them, this two boys that came wi the mill. Ah don't know, they must hidden some feedin but they came wi this mill, this big mill an steam engine, oh to us it's just, it wis a, it wis really the day, especially if they came on a Saturday. An they pulled this in at night an they came up then - they hid a caravan, well, they called it a van then, but we'd call it now a kind a caravan, it wis oh a pretty crude kind o thing it wis - but they slept in is, there wis a fire in it. <br /> <br /> An this boys came up an they used to come in, when they arrived wi their steam engine an mill an van - their little van for sleepin in - they'd to come in then an get their, well if they were in time, they got their dinner. Goodness knows why they did that, they could have hid a dinner just aboot an hour afore at, but they still - it seemed to be the recognised thing, they got another dinner. They came in an got their dinner, an they sat on then an everybody gathered in round - there wis no wireless much, no, there were no wireless or anythin like that - an what happened then, ye all, we's bairns, we used to listen to them tellin their tales. They would gaither in roon the fire, at night, an tell all the yarns aboot all their experiences or places they'd been an goodness knows what. Till us it wis just, oh, great. <br /> <br /> We used to sit, maybe we'd sit until eleven o'clock at night, an then they'd get their tea an they'd go back oot'll their caravan. An we'd look oot at the window then to see - goodness knows what we were expectin to see - but we would look oot an they must have puttin paraffin on their fire because it wis a small funnel that wis in it an ye'd see the flames - it wis like an oil rig, ye'd see the flames standin right oot it, aboot three feet because they'd put a lot o paraffin on their stove or whatever they've got, an get the fire goin. An we thought is wis great, this'