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TITLE
Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (16 of 32)
EXTERNAL ID
ARCH_ALASDAIR_CAMERON_02_01
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
DATE OF RECORDING
2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Alasdair Cameron
SOURCE
ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)
ASSET ID
41081
KEYWORDS
audios
farmers
farming
agriculture
built environment
villages
dwellings
houses
farms
potatoes

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In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about some of the family names of Avoch. He also recalls some of the agricultural methods used by the local population.

The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.

Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)

AC: I'm looking again at the sale particulars, of the sale that never was, of the Rosehaugh Estate as it was known at the period. And we're looking at Avoch and we've got lists of all the houses in the village, their feus and the site rents, and I note that, at the period, some of the properties were commandeered by the War Department, requisitioned. And there's an interesting list of names, traditional names, of the inhabitants of Avoch. There's a few Jacks, there's a McLeman or two, there's a Reid, a Patience, a MacIntosh, names that you'll still find in Avoch today. I'd family connections in Avoch and my memories there was that the kitchen fascinated me because you pulled the rug aside on the wooden floor, you lifted a hatch, and there was a cellar, a root cellar, where you kept your carrots and your potatoes. And that it kept it cool and also protected it from frost in the wintertime because potatoes don't like heat or they start growing at the wrong time, so it was both refrigerator and the store as well. It's something that I'm not aware of in any other areas in Scotland but it was quite a common thing in North America to have root cellars either within the house, or fairly big ones built in the yard outside, with a low level roof on it, and deep enough to survive the winter frosts. One of the traditions in Avoch was that the local farmers grew potatoes that they sold by the drill, and, I'm not sure, was it a fixed price, or how it was worked out? But basically you decided how many yards of drill you wanted and then your family were persuaded to come along and using graips you dug out the potatoes, gathered them, and took them home and put them into your store.

The transport was principally the hurlies which were often used for taking the fishermen's' nets from the boats along the roadside to hang them out to dry on the fences. The hurlies were wooden carts that usually had motorbike wheels on them, so old motorbikes were highly sought after in Avoch just to get the wheels off them and to make a hurlie for the nets and any transport needs you had. They were always into recycling there. The reason the nets were hung out to dry was that if they were left around too long, wet, they were liable to begin to rot. There were preventative treatments, like boiling in tannins to preserve them. But nowadays of course, synthetic fibres, there's no requirement for hanging your nets out to dry.

CM: Alasdair, I wanted to ask you, you used the term 'graips' for digging out the tatties?

AC: Yes, this is a term that's interchangeable in the countryside, a fork and a graip. A fork is generally referred to as something with two prongs that you would use to pick up hay or straw or sheaves, whereas, and would normally have a long handle, whereas a graip is something that usually has four prongs and would be used for either digging soil or, with thinner tines, it could be for mucking out the byre or also dealing with chaff and smaller particles stuff. It causes confusion in, if you go to the ironmonger and they're not familiar with rustic terms, as 'did you want a fork or a graip?' because the term seems to be interchangeable in some communities.

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Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (16 of 32)

ROSS

2010s

audios; farmers; farming; agriculture; built environment; villages; dwellings; houses; farms; potatoes;

ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)

ARCH: Black Isle Heritage Memories

In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about some of the family names of Avoch. He also recalls some of the agricultural methods used by the local population. <br /> <br /> The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.<br /> <br /> Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)<br /> <br /> AC: I'm looking again at the sale particulars, of the sale that never was, of the Rosehaugh Estate as it was known at the period. And we're looking at Avoch and we've got lists of all the houses in the village, their feus and the site rents, and I note that, at the period, some of the properties were commandeered by the War Department, requisitioned. And there's an interesting list of names, traditional names, of the inhabitants of Avoch. There's a few Jacks, there's a McLeman or two, there's a Reid, a Patience, a MacIntosh, names that you'll still find in Avoch today. I'd family connections in Avoch and my memories there was that the kitchen fascinated me because you pulled the rug aside on the wooden floor, you lifted a hatch, and there was a cellar, a root cellar, where you kept your carrots and your potatoes. And that it kept it cool and also protected it from frost in the wintertime because potatoes don't like heat or they start growing at the wrong time, so it was both refrigerator and the store as well. It's something that I'm not aware of in any other areas in Scotland but it was quite a common thing in North America to have root cellars either within the house, or fairly big ones built in the yard outside, with a low level roof on it, and deep enough to survive the winter frosts. One of the traditions in Avoch was that the local farmers grew potatoes that they sold by the drill, and, I'm not sure, was it a fixed price, or how it was worked out? But basically you decided how many yards of drill you wanted and then your family were persuaded to come along and using graips you dug out the potatoes, gathered them, and took them home and put them into your store.<br /> <br /> The transport was principally the hurlies which were often used for taking the fishermen's' nets from the boats along the roadside to hang them out to dry on the fences. The hurlies were wooden carts that usually had motorbike wheels on them, so old motorbikes were highly sought after in Avoch just to get the wheels off them and to make a hurlie for the nets and any transport needs you had. They were always into recycling there. The reason the nets were hung out to dry was that if they were left around too long, wet, they were liable to begin to rot. There were preventative treatments, like boiling in tannins to preserve them. But nowadays of course, synthetic fibres, there's no requirement for hanging your nets out to dry.<br /> <br /> CM: Alasdair, I wanted to ask you, you used the term 'graips' for digging out the tatties?<br /> <br /> AC: Yes, this is a term that's interchangeable in the countryside, a fork and a graip. A fork is generally referred to as something with two prongs that you would use to pick up hay or straw or sheaves, whereas, and would normally have a long handle, whereas a graip is something that usually has four prongs and would be used for either digging soil or, with thinner tines, it could be for mucking out the byre or also dealing with chaff and smaller particles stuff. It causes confusion in, if you go to the ironmonger and they're not familiar with rustic terms, as 'did you want a fork or a graip?' because the term seems to be interchangeable in some communities.