Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Harvested oats, hand tied in sheaves
EXTERNAL ID
SLD_182_033
PLACENAME
Kilmuir
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmuir
PERIOD
1970s; 1980s
CREATOR
Olivia James
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
39478
KEYWORDS
crofts
crofting
grains
crops
sheaf
sheaves
Harvested oats, hand tied in sheaves

Sheaves of oats are left to dry in the fields after harvesting. Tying the sheaves and securing them with a few lengths of straw took skill and practice. The photographer, Olivia James, noted the technique with this image taken in Kilmuir in the north of the Isle of Skye.

In the 1960s and 1970s oats were still grown extensively on the crofts in this area which was sometimes referred to as the 'granary of Skye'. Once drained, the open fields benefitted in good years from long summer days of sunshine and dry wind. Sowing of the grain was done mainly by hand and much of the harvesting was done with a scythe until narrow reapers attached to tractors were introduced. The cut crop was turned with a wooden rake to speed up the drying process and then stacked in bundles to continue the process. Tying the sheaves or stooks to keep them securely in place was a knack which took practice. The sheaves were stored close to the croft house in a barn or protected yard to provide winter animal feed.

Times have changed now and hay and other animal foodstuffs are brought from the mainland and most of these once fertile fields have reverted to reeds and rushes. The corncrakes which were once frequently heard in the area are now a rarity.


Olivia James
The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.
'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan.


This image may be available to purchase.
For further information about purchasing and prices please email
Skye and Lochalsh Archives

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

Harvested oats, hand tied in sheaves

INVERNESS: Kilmuir

1970s; 1980s

crofts; crofting; grains; crops; sheaf; sheaves

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

Olivia James Collection

Sheaves of oats are left to dry in the fields after harvesting. Tying the sheaves and securing them with a few lengths of straw took skill and practice. The photographer, Olivia James, noted the technique with this image taken in Kilmuir in the north of the Isle of Skye.<br /> <br /> In the 1960s and 1970s oats were still grown extensively on the crofts in this area which was sometimes referred to as the 'granary of Skye'. Once drained, the open fields benefitted in good years from long summer days of sunshine and dry wind. Sowing of the grain was done mainly by hand and much of the harvesting was done with a scythe until narrow reapers attached to tractors were introduced. The cut crop was turned with a wooden rake to speed up the drying process and then stacked in bundles to continue the process. Tying the sheaves or stooks to keep them securely in place was a knack which took practice. The sheaves were stored close to the croft house in a barn or protected yard to provide winter animal feed. <br /> <br /> Times have changed now and hay and other animal foodstuffs are brought from the mainland and most of these once fertile fields have reverted to reeds and rushes. The corncrakes which were once frequently heard in the area are now a rarity.<br /> <br /> <br /> <b>Olivia James</b><br /> The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.<br /> 'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>