Mòine / Peat-Working

Angus and Margaret MacKillop
còrr is leth-cheud [over 50]
Eileanaich [natives of Lewis]
Lewis, Carloway 
  • [NOTES: the informants use adjectives ‘beag’, ‘mór’ and ‘math’ to show the gender of the nouns. They have been replaced with ‘masc.’ and ‘fem.’.]
1. Ag ullachadh na talmhainn airson mòine a bhuain
a’ riachadhthe line marking the width of the turfing. (Point, Lewis)
a’ priogadhthe line marking the width of the turfing. (Carloway)
riasgpeat soil. (Lewis)
moine a’ reisgthis was used in S. Harris to signify the fibrous as opposed to the black and hard type.
a’ rusgadhturfing. (Lewis)
a’ feannadhturfing. (Berneray, Harris)
a leagail na ruisgthrowing the cut [sic] down from the top of the bank.
ag càradh na rusg[sic] arranging the cut turf with the grass side up am broinn a’ phuill.
a’ glanadh a’ phuilllevelling the top after the turfing.
leigeil an uisge a polldraining a peat-bank.
2. A’ buain na mònach; na h-innealan a chleachdar; ainmean nam fàdan, etc.
a’ buain na mònachcutting the peats. (Lewis)
a’ buain na mònadhcutting the peats. (Harris)
sgioba buain mhònachthe working team consisting roughly of nine. This was considered capable of cutting fuel for one year for one household: ceithir iarainn agus duine rùsgadh.
iarunna peat iron; also this is also [sic] the term used for the unit in a team, viz. a pair – one cutting and one throwing out. This word is used in both these senses in Berneray, Harris, but only in the latter sense in Lewis.
taraisgeirpeat iron. (Lewis)
a’ buain ’s a cuir a’ mach[sic] cutting and spreading. [(Lewis)]
a’ gearradh ’s a cuir a mach[sic] cutting and spreading. [(Lewis)]
sgaoilteachspreading area.
druim a’ phuillthe top level of the peat bank.
broinn a’ phuillthe lower level of the peat bank.
aghaidh a’ phuillthe upright area from which the peats were cut.
aodann a’ phuillthe upright area from which the peats were cut.
cas an iaruinnthe handle of the peat iron.
sgion an iaruinnthe blade of the peat iron.
smeachan an iaruinnthe foot rest on the [peat] iron.
iarunn aig an robh coiseachd (no ceum) matha satisfactory [peat] iron with a long knife.
a’ fosgladh pollopening a new bank.
a’ toirt puill as ùropening a new bank.
carcairthe width of the bank to be cut.
Thug mi rusg morthat would mean a wide area turfed – 10 to 12 peats.
poll aon phoidone layer depth after turfing – not common.
poll da fhadtwo layer depth or three. This was the common depth. Rarely four to six layers.
barr fhadtop layer.
caoranthe lower, bottom layer usually coming [?] of the stone [?] – black and broken.
corr fhadthe first peat cut off each layer – the outside peat.
ceap ceannan unturfed peat, cut with the spade.
grobhagpoll air fàs beag ’s air tighinn gu deireadh. (Lewis)
grabhagpoll air fàs beag ’s air tighinn gu deireadh. (Harris)
gearr tan’ i, ruig fad i, cum a’ mach ithese were the three main points to good peat-cutting. Ruig fad i means cut as deep a slice as iron permits. Cum a’ mach i refers to good spreading.
spoth an fhoida backward tilt to the iron after the downward cut: to enable the peat to come off clearly.
3. A’ tiormachadh na mònach
rùghadh’g a cuir air a casan. The first lifting of the peats – into small heaps – three or four peats up-ended and one laid across the top – am fàd mulaich.
rùmhadh[See rùghadh]
togail’g a cuir air a casan. The first lifting of the peats – into small heaps – three or four peats up-ended and one laid across the top – am fàd mulaich.
rùghanthe first little heap.
rùmhan ()[masc.] [See rùghan] Rùmhan beag. Rùmhain bheaga.
coilleag ()[fem.] the first little heap. (Scalpay)
ath-rughadhIs e so an dara sùil a bheirear air a mhòine. Nithear rùmhain na’s motha leis na fòid a’s tiorma ’nam broin agus an fheadhain nach ’eil cho tioram air an taobh a muigh agus air am mullach . Le sìde thioram nithear ath-rumhain mhòra, ach ma tha an aimsir bog cha deanar ach ath-rumhain bheaga.
ath-rumhadh[See ath-rughadh]
ath-rughan no ath-rumhan ()[masc.]
4. A’ cruachadh na mònach
torr ()[masc.] a heap.
tiurra ()[fem.] a heap.
an glaothan ()[masc.] the heap now takes shape – an elongated oval – the length and width of the intended stack. Where the peats are of mixed quality, all the black and brittle and broken stuff are heaped into this core of the stack.
an steidheadh ()[masc.] a ring of ‘moine shlàn’ is now set all around the ‘glaothan’ and a ‘ceum coise’ away from it. From this outer ring, referred to as ‘an steidheadh’, the stacker helps himself to good building slabs for the stacking.
a’ steidheadhstacking or ‘building’.
ag griomhadhstacking or ‘building’.
a toirt a steach a’ steidhidhgiving the stack a slight slope inwards all the way round to prevent its falling.
a’ duineadh na cruaichlevelling off the top of the stack.
cuilean ()[masc.] a small addition to the main stack – like a ‘lean-to’ or ‘porch’ at the end or side.
a’ tughadhthatching – this was done when the household peats were not all gathered into one stack but were left each lot on its own bank. The peats were arranged in a beehive heap which was covered all over with newly cut turf.
ceap tughaidhthe turf used in the above [i.e. a’ tughadh].
cruach ()[fem.] stack.
larach cruaichesite for a stack. Also an area of hard-pressed dross where a stack had once been.
5. A’ toirt na mònach dhachaigh; an cliabh, etc.
cliabh ()[masc.] creel.
bath-chliabhthis was a smaller creel – a mock or toy creel. It was a disparagement to have one’s creel referred to as a bath-chliabh – implying that one could not carry a full load.
iris ()[fem.] the creel strap – a two or three inch width of plaited twine with a worked loop at each end. A ‘de-luxe’ one would be of ‘gaoisde’ (horsehair) for the last word in comfort across the chest! Straps of leather or of sacking (iris poca) were inferior makeshifts.
staingeanthe cane ‘uprights’ of the creel – the ribs.
briagana row of holes or openwork right round the creel and four or five inches down from the top. By these one could get a grip of the loaded creel when lifting it.
bial a’ chleibhthe top [of the creel].
màs a’ chleibhthe bottom [of the creel]. When this was worn out the creel would be taken to the maker gus màs ùr a chur ann.
dronnag ()[fem.] a cushion or pad for the back when carrying a loaded creel – normally a folded skirt or ‘cota’.
cota dronnaig ()[masc.] an old skirt or ‘cota’ no longer wearable as such and relegated to a creel pad.
ceanghal cleibha new creel before use was tightened or bound over with strong twine laced back and fore on the outside along the line of ribs.
staranthe track between bank and tiùrra – the more direct the better.
drochaid air pollif there was a high bank in the way, steps of turfing would be built up the face to avoid a detour.
drochaid air feithstepping stones of turfing set across a boggy patch to avoid detour.
ultach monachan armful of peats.
bara monacha barrowload of peats.
cliabh monacha creelful of peats.
cairt mhonacha cartload of peats.
sgiathan air cairtsometimes to make a cart more commodious an extra board would be fixed to each side.
teasraigeadh monadha loan or gift of peats to ‘tide one over’. (Berneray)
luchd monadhboatload usually. (Berneray)
saic monadhhorseload of two loaded creels astride a horse’s back. (Berneray)
sorachana creel stand built up of turf or flat peats. With the loaded creel rested here it was easy to get it on to one’s back. A later version made of wood had the advantage of being portable. This was nicknamed (in Point, Lewis) ‘Seonaidh’.
tiurraideana small insignificant heap of peats – or of anything.
6. Seòrsachan mònach
moine dhubhheavy black type [of peat]. Sometimes also moine bhalbh dhubh.
moine phronnbrittle type of peat – usually black.
caorainsmall broken peats.
moine shlànthis is the more manageable and stronger type of peat.
moine fhallain(Berneray, Harris) [See moine shlàn].
moine fhraoichthis has an ad-mixture of roots – mostly heather roots – usually the top layer from the bank.
moine bhànthis is lighter in weight and in colour.
moine chòsachlight spongy stuff considered inferior – except for kindling.
ath-mhoine(re-made) these were peats that had become wet and soggy – usually in the ‘floor’ of the stack – and had been set aside in little ‘rumhain’ to dry out again – also considered inferior.
moine-cloichethis is the lowest layer of peat – lifted of the ‘stone’ – always coal-black and often ‘pronn’. (Berneray, Harris)
moine-steidhidhwell shaped and firm slabs suitable [for] stack ‘building’.
moine amhpeats that had not dried well and had a softish or ‘raw’ core.
moine phlòiceachbig spongy slabs that had absorbed water.
moine tasgaidhpeats suitable for banking the fire overnight – mòine amh or mòine phlòiceach were preferred for this.
7. Faclan eile
dòrlachhandful of oatmeal, grain etc.
làn dùrnahandful of oatmeal, grain etc.
criuthgana pinch – of salt or sugar etc.
craiteachana sprinkling – of salt etc.
smàglachas much as could be lifted between the two hands – of potatoes, or herring, or grain etc.
tràthof potatoes, or fish, as much as would be cooked for one meal.
déilica very small helping or portion of any food.
sgùirdas much as one could carry in front of one, viz. in one’s apron.
drumagthis was a bigger load than above [i.e. sgùird] – the apron was filled and worn behind with the two bottom corners pinned or knotted at the neck. Had to be stronger and bigger than these of the present day (the aprons).
cròga handful – of eggs usually.
achlaisa load to go under the arm e.g. ‘achlais leabhraichean’.
ciumbula bundle.

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