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TITLE
Transporting Peat, Achiltibuie
EXTERNAL ID
QZP99_94032_06_05
PLACENAME
Achiltibuie
DISTRICT
Lochbroom
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Lochbroom
CREATOR
I F Grant
SOURCE
Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library
ASSET ID
38587
KEYWORDS
peat
fuel
Transporting Peat, Achiltibuie

Peat is formed by partially decomposed plants. This matter accumulates over many years and becomes compressed by its own weight and moisture, eventually becoming partly carbonised. Despite increasing by only 0.5mm per year peat bogs can eventually reach depths of up to 10 metres. Peat was the only source of fuel in areas devoid of woodland or scrub.

Peat cutting is usually carried out in late spring with a tool called a tosg (sometimes toirsgian, or tairsgeir) which is made of a long wooden handle with an angled blade on one end. It cuts the peat at right angles on two sides and allows the cut peat to slide up the shaft which is slightly broadened and flattened above the blade. A good peat cutter can cut 1000 peats in a day. As peat contains around 90% water the peats are left where they are thrown for a few days as they begin to dry out.

The peats are then gathered into small stacks. In some instances a wall of overlapping peats is built with gaps between each to allow air through. In some places, four peats are stood edge to edge to form a square with two more placed on top; in others, two peats are laid against each other with a third on top.

Once the peats have hardened they are carted to the croft and built into a stack. These often resembled the shape of the croft house - being broad, curved at each end and tapered to a point about 2 metres high. They varied in length from about 4 to 14 metres. Peat stacks provided additional shelter to houses.

A croft solely reliant on peat for fuel would use between 15,000 and 18,000 peats in a year


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Transporting Peat, Achiltibuie

ROSS: Lochbroom

peat; fuel

Edinburgh and Scottish Collection, Edinburgh Central Library

I F Grant Photographic Archive

Peat is formed by partially decomposed plants. This matter accumulates over many years and becomes compressed by its own weight and moisture, eventually becoming partly carbonised. Despite increasing by only 0.5mm per year peat bogs can eventually reach depths of up to 10 metres. Peat was the only source of fuel in areas devoid of woodland or scrub. <br /> <br /> Peat cutting is usually carried out in late spring with a tool called a tosg (sometimes toirsgian, or tairsgeir) which is made of a long wooden handle with an angled blade on one end. It cuts the peat at right angles on two sides and allows the cut peat to slide up the shaft which is slightly broadened and flattened above the blade. A good peat cutter can cut 1000 peats in a day. As peat contains around 90% water the peats are left where they are thrown for a few days as they begin to dry out.<br /> <br /> The peats are then gathered into small stacks. In some instances a wall of overlapping peats is built with gaps between each to allow air through. In some places, four peats are stood edge to edge to form a square with two more placed on top; in others, two peats are laid against each other with a third on top.<br /> <br /> Once the peats have hardened they are carted to the croft and built into a stack. These often resembled the shape of the croft house - being broad, curved at each end and tapered to a point about 2 metres high. They varied in length from about 4 to 14 metres. Peat stacks provided additional shelter to houses. <br /> <br /> A croft solely reliant on peat for fuel would use between 15,000 and 18,000 peats in a year <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: central.edsc.library@edinburgh.gov.uk">Edinburgh Central Library</a><br />