Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Peats. Article III, 21/08/1879 - Rambling Recollections of Berriedale, Badbea, and Neighbourhood - Part B

Article III, written by Alexander Gunn, aka A Native of Badbea, was printed in the Northern Ensign on 21 August, 1879. Part B.

Note: this extract was also included in the blog ‘For Peat’s Sake” but I have included it again in the interests of publishing this series of the letters of A Native of Badbea as a complete set. The illustrations I have used were not published with the original article.

“Another great day with us was the day "John Badbea" got his peats carried home. On such occasions there came horses from Braemore and Houstry to lead worthy John's peats to the stance where the peat stack stood, a little above the house. There was not a road or track by which carts could be used, and the peats were therefore carried in a sort of hamper called "crubags" on each side. It was a sort of four- square thing, about 2 feet 6 inches long, perhaps 2 feet deep, and about 18 inches wide. It was open at both ends, and was slung by a piece of rope fixed to a sort of rude saddletree set on the back of the horse which carried one of these "crubags" on each side. It is surprising what quantity of peats could be packed into a couple of these. 

Going For peats - Barra 1910
Source: www.geos.ed.ac.uk
There might be 30 or 40 horses engaged in leading the peats on these occasions. Three or four, even six horses were tied to each other's tails, and one person leading them. To us it was a real post of honour to be leading these horses between the stacks and the hill, when those who brought the horses were employed in building the peat stack, or loading the horses at the hill. In this way all the good man's peats were carried to the stance and built up ready for the winter in one day, and all was done gratuitously both the labour of men and horses being given free of charge.”

John Clifton, The Land of Heather. www.kellscraft.com

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