SSB Talking Turf: getting hands on with Highland turf building heritage

As part of the 2017 Year of History Heritage and Archaeology, the Shieling Project received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run a programme called Talking Turf.

Working with over 550 people, the project delivered over 5000 hours of learning, as well as building a 100m wall using over 12 tonnes of turf. 

This everyday surface is a great building material which can be used to build houses, walls and importantly for the project, shieling huts. Historically people would cut this top layer of ground and use it up to create the walls of the bothies that they would stay in over the summer, up in the hills or out on the moors while herding the cattle.

This was the shieling life, and the project works with children, young people, and adults to celebrate this tradition and see what it means today.

The project aims to be as sustainable as possible and uses a number of old fashioned techniques in which to help replicate the sheiling’s life. Using a flauchter spade helps preserve the sustainable building material and creates a direct link to shieling life.

For more information please visit their blog written by Dr Sam Harrison

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