Tag Archives: peats


Collection of 18 articles by Rhoda Meek, Caoles, extracted from Gaelic language magazine Cothrom, issues 29-59, 2001 onwards, one article by Hector MacDougall about Coll heroes (Cothrom 40), one by Rev Hector Cameron about the building of Island House and collecting peat from Coll (Cothrom 42), and another about a storm which cut Coll into three and Tiree into seven (Cothrom 41). In Gaelic with English translations.


Softback book ‘Correspondence from July, 1846, to February, 1847, Relating to the Measures Adopted for the Relief of the Distress in Scotland…’ Great Britain Treasury, 2012. Government correspondence about Famine Relief in the Highlands. Includes separate index listing references to Tiree.

Click here to view index 2017.26.1 Tiree references


Booklet `Rathad an Isein / The Bird`s Road`

Small booklet by Anne Campbell, Lewis, listing the Gaelic names and terms for features of Lewis moorlands and for working there (mostly peat-cutting).


Photograph of ruined jetties in Fisgary Bay, Coll, in 2012.

Colour photograph of the ruins of two jetties in Fisgary Bay, Coll, taken in 2012, with an inset map showing their location. “The jetties were built to aid the loading of peat onto Tiree boats. Fisgary Bay is the nearest sheltered bay to the moss, although it is tidal as the photo shows. The two jetties are at the head of the bay, as close as possible it seems for the transport of the peat. Betty MacDougall (deceased Coll historian) wrote many years ago: “As the road rises to Aondairigh, a splendid view opens up seaward. As we proceed towards Loch Ronard, the village peat banks are on both sides of the road, few of them worked nowadays. There is no peat on Tiree, so at one time the men from that island used to come to Coll to cut their fuel and an area of moorland to the left of the road is still called the Tireemen`s Moss.””


Additional information provided by James Hill, Coll, May 2016: “Fiskary farm near the piers that were for the ponies carrying the peat to unload into the vessels was a subsistence farm and some associated structures on top of the hill were undoubtedly for storing peat and sheltering the peat cutters. The other ports were at Coalas en Eilean and Arinthluic close by that received peat from Tiree Mans Moss. The origin of the name of Fiskary Bay was part Norse and Gaelic. “Fisk” is fish in Norse, and “Kary” (“Caraigh”) is from the Gaelic meaning a wall in the sea i.e., “a Fish trap” that still exists but has been broken down to allow vessels to enter and leave the bay. It was Irish Gaelic that was spoken here. Fiskary Bay was also a Mesolithic fishing camp site that is dated to 9300 years BP but was probably earlier.”


Lumps of Tiree peat

Three lumps of peat collected from the bank of Amhainn Bhan, Balevullin, in 2012. Only a small amount of peat was ever present on Tiree, and all the useful cuttings were exhausted decades ago. These pieces are very rare examples.


Transcript of a court case in 1860 in which two Tiree men gave evidence

Copy of a handwritten transcript of a court case against Effie MacDonald (nee MacKinnon) of Erabus, Ardtun, (Ross of Mull?) dates 2 July 1860, who was prosecuted for repeatedly stealing peats from stacks belonging to Gilbert MacDonald, Balemartine, and James MacLean, Balemartine, on the Ardtun Moss on Friday the 22nd of ?. On 13th July 1860, at Tobermory, Effie was found guilty of theft and sentenced to 6 days of (?).

Click here to view 2012.19.1



Newspaper article about the sinking of a boat carrying 26 people from Tiree in 1828.

Extract from a letter from a man on Coll to a man in Glasgow dated 31st May 1828, published in the Glasgow Herald and extracted by The Times. On the 29th of May 1828 a boat carrying 26 people from Tiree struck rocks near the Treshnish Isles after a peat-cutting expedition to Mull. Twenty-one died. They were Hector John Cameron and his sister Mary Cameron, Charles MacLean, Mary MacDonald, Jean Campbell, Mary Carlisle, William MacLean and his wife, Donald MacLean and his sister Mary MacLean, Catherine Galbraith and her brother Malcolm MacInnes, Alexander Rainey, Alexander Cameron, Neil MacDonald and his daughter.


Police report on the theft of peats

Transcription of a police report on the theft of peats from the Tiree peat moss in the Ross of Mull in 1860.

Courtesy of Argyll & Bute Archives

In 1801 the 5th Duke of Argyll instructed his chamberlain of Tiree: ‘No peats to be allowed to crofters from the mosses in the island, which are nearly exhausted, but coals must be imported…They can be allowed to take peats from Ross in Mull if they chuse.’

In the previous century the people of Tiree had frequently resorted to the peat mosses in the Ross of Mull for their fuel, a practice that continued, some say, until the beginning of the 20th century. The men and boys would sail over to the Ross in the spring to cut and stack the peats, returning later in the year to ferry the dried peats back to Tiree.

In 1860 Effy MacKinnon of Ardtun appeared before Sheriff Robertson in Tobermory charged with stealing peats belonging to Gilbert MacDonald of Balemartine. She was found guilty and sentenced to six days imprisonment.