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TITLE
Peat stack on Eilean Tighe
EXTERNAL ID
PC_JMACKENZIE_004
PLACENAME
Eilean Tighe
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
CREATOR
Julia Mackenzie
SOURCE
Julia Mackenzie
ASSET ID
28849
KEYWORDS
Hebrides
Hebridean
islanders
islands
crofting
crofter
crofters
croft
crofts
peat
peats
peat iron
peat irons
peat stack
peat stacks
peat cutting
Peat stack on Eilean Tighe

This photograph was taken on Eilean Tighe (Island of the House) which lies off the north end of Raasay in the Inner Hebrides. It was provided by Julia Mackenzie and shows (from left to right) her brother, her grandfather and her father beside the peat stack at the back of their house.

Julia Mackenzie was born on Eilean Tighe in 1923 and later moved to the larger island of Rona. In the late 1990s she revisited Eilean Tighe which is now deserted. This visit prompted her to write a book about her childhood memories of island life. In 'Whirligig beetles and tackety boots' she describes the work associated with collecting peats for fuel:

'The procedure was that father would first clear the top layer of grass and heather off the top of the peat bog. This was done with a very broad spade called a 'caibe làir', and then he would press a special peat-cutting instrument (iarunn mòine) into the ground. Up would come a beautiful black shiny oblong of peat, just like a large lump of liquorice. The peat iron was shaped in such a way as to cut it in this handy shape. We children would stand in a convenient position, with arms outstretched to catch the lump of peat as father aimed it our way. After a while, one became expert at timing every thrust of the peat iron and the exact moment when a lovely wet slippery peat would land on your outstretched hands.

Next, this peat was laid down in rows on the grassy ground beside us, to await the next stage of peat making, which was called 'rùghan'. It just meant tiny wigwams of four peat lumps stood on end and one across the top, to finish the sun drying process. The final stage was gathering all the peat into one big heap called a 'Cruach'. It was given its final ornamental and rain protective finish by peat being laid end on and overlapping. This type of finish kept the rain from soaking into the peat inside. The whole thing when it was finished looked like a doorless, windowless house, and very ornamental.'

'Whirligig beetles and tackety boots' is available for purchase from Blythswood Bookshops. All proceeds go towards the work of Blythswood Care

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Peat stack on Eilean Tighe

INVERNESS: Portree

Hebrides; Hebridean; islanders; islands; crofting; crofter; crofters; croft; crofts; peat; peats; peat iron; peat irons; peat stack; peat stacks; peat cutting

Julia Mackenzie

This photograph was taken on Eilean Tighe (Island of the House) which lies off the north end of Raasay in the Inner Hebrides. It was provided by Julia Mackenzie and shows (from left to right) her brother, her grandfather and her father beside the peat stack at the back of their house.<br /> <br /> Julia Mackenzie was born on Eilean Tighe in 1923 and later moved to the larger island of Rona. In the late 1990s she revisited Eilean Tighe which is now deserted. This visit prompted her to write a book about her childhood memories of island life. In 'Whirligig beetles and tackety boots' she describes the work associated with collecting peats for fuel:<br /> <br /> 'The procedure was that father would first clear the top layer of grass and heather off the top of the peat bog. This was done with a very broad spade called a 'caibe làir', and then he would press a special peat-cutting instrument (iarunn mòine) into the ground. Up would come a beautiful black shiny oblong of peat, just like a large lump of liquorice. The peat iron was shaped in such a way as to cut it in this handy shape. We children would stand in a convenient position, with arms outstretched to catch the lump of peat as father aimed it our way. After a while, one became expert at timing every thrust of the peat iron and the exact moment when a lovely wet slippery peat would land on your outstretched hands. <br /> <br /> Next, this peat was laid down in rows on the grassy ground beside us, to await the next stage of peat making, which was called 'rùghan'. It just meant tiny wigwams of four peat lumps stood on end and one across the top, to finish the sun drying process. The final stage was gathering all the peat into one big heap called a 'Cruach'. It was given its final ornamental and rain protective finish by peat being laid end on and overlapping. This type of finish kept the rain from soaking into the peat inside. The whole thing when it was finished looked like a doorless, windowless house, and very ornamental.'<br /> <br /> 'Whirligig beetles and tackety boots' is available for purchase from Blythswood Bookshops. All proceeds go towards the work of Blythswood Care