Our First Day in the Peats this Year

To get this, 

we need these.

And to have these, we need to do this:

Here's the peat bank from last year. 

The Builder uses the spade to begin turfing the peats - that's taking the ceap off.

He makes a line parallel with the edge of the peat bank, 

and then begins cutting across, loosening the thick ceap.

The ceap is then placed here, so that the person throwing the peats has a solid place to stand. It also means that in years to come, the area looks exactly as it looked before peats were ever cut.

Here, you can see the rows of turfs from the previous couple of years.

Once it's turfed, the Builder scrapes the top, just to clean take away the last bits of roots and heather.

I then have to put the camera away and get to work. I'm using the peat iron - a taraisgeir - to cut the peat out of the bank. The Builder throws the cut peat onto the bank, where it'll be left to dry.

I was so glad Big Brother wasn't out. 

The angle of the taraisgeir is wrong,

and each individual peat varies in size and shape: some are bigger than Cornflakes packs, and others were like wedges. 

It's just as well the Builder has patience. And it's as well I can laugh - at myself, mostly!

The Builder is beginning to turf the next length of the bank. You can see where the peat was cut: the top line shows the turfed part, and then you can see where the peats have been cut, and those thrown on the top of the bank, waiting to dry.

That is just the beginning of the peat - cutting-drying-lifting-taking-home saga. No doubt, you will see a fair bit more of the moor in the weeks and months to come.


  1. Wow Ive not been on your blog in a loong while I guess! One of the last times I was on, you all were doing the peat! Wow! So do you 'own' peat land or how does that work?

  2. Yes, I would like to know that too. Is the peat area communal, where everyone can harvest (like the men of Lewis do with those birds every year) what they need, or is it up to each family to have their own?

  3. I can't wait to hear the answers. Another question or two...How is the amount of peat measured? ( ie:cords of wood) and how much does your home require to keep it toasty warm during the year?

    Fascinating post! Thank you.


  4. I feel really ignorant. It just looks like a block of clay...but it's mostly plant material? So very interesting. You do keep me learning! I am interested as well, in whether you own the land or have to have a permit for gathering the peat, or how that works!
    Hope your day is productive!

  5. Wow--this is awesome! Thanks for teaching us about the process. I love learning about thing slike this.

  6. Love the boots! At least if you were cutting it wrong you were looking good doing it, right?


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