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Collectors & Explorers

Dr Werner Kissling

Four pictures with ropes and creels, South Uist


"From the ropes they make with natural fibres and grasses, the people of the Western Isles developed a technique with which they manufactured horse collars and mats to serve as horse covers.


a) A horse cover or plàd has been made from rope and twisted by hand out of bent grass. Separated from the main fabric by a small piece of wood the centre piece on which the creel saddle will rest is woven on to give double strength.


b) The creel is constructed from the bottom upwards on a perforated wooden frame, after which the seasoned hazel rods which make the uprights are bent over to form the foot of it.


c) South Uist crofter twisting a horse hair rope single-handed with the aid of a cross-shaped gadget. The horse hair, combed and rolled into a tuft before twisting, produced a strong elastic rope for tethering horses or for fishing lines.


d) Ponies with plàd in position, panniers filled with peat."

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries & Galloway Council