Grimsay Community Association launches Bliadhna na Moine

Grimsay Community Association is launching a new project, Bliadhna na Mòine - The Peat Year, with the support of Bord na Gaidhlig.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:32 am
Peat cutting on Grimsay

Throughout 2021, a series of COVID-safe events will focus on peat and moorland, to bring together traditional, current and new practices alongside an understanding of their produce, science and associated culture and language.

The project will explore questions such as: ‘What is peat?’ and ‘How do we use and manage our moors and peatland?’ By doing so we can learn from the traditions of small-scale use of peat and hill grazing management to develop an understanding for the sustainable land use of our peat and moorlands today. These practices are vital to the survival of our islands’ crofting communities, our traditions and cultural practices, as well as the maintenance of an important habitat that delivers many wider benefits.

Bliadhna na Mòine - The Peat Year will bring together a broad range of perspectives through the calendar of events: from crofting practices to natural history and ecology, Gaelic terminology and cultural reminiscence to food, poetry and song.

The programme begins on Saturday, May 1 with a peat-cutting demonstration by experienced local crofters on Grimsay, where young and old are welcome to watch and try their hand at learning the traditional skills. A peat cutting competition will then follow on Saturday, May 8. There will be a set duration for cutting, with neatness, speed and consistency all taken into consideration in the judging.

Competitors should prearrange a teammate to cut with (from within their own household or extended household network in order to comply with COVID restrictions), or the more experienced may wish test themselves and take part solo. There will be prizes, but come the autumn all competitors will be able to take the peat they cut home to warm them through the winter.

To ensure events are COVID-safe and in case of bad weather, pre-booking is essential for all these events, so please get in touch with Grimsay Community Association on 01870 603359 / [email protected]

On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 June, a Crofting Practice Symposium will look at how hill and common grazing land is used, including off-lying islands. There will be talks, discussions and reminiscing with experienced crofters, with a plan to produce a Gaelic crofting terminology booklet. Turning of cut peats will be demonstrated and the day will conclude with a traditional ceilidh of relevant songs and poetry. The Symposium may take place as a physical, hybrid or virtual event as circumstances dictate, so booking is essential: 01870 603359 / [email protected]

Further events throughout the year will include talks about the wildlife of the peat and moorlands, peat stacking, a workshop on peat-smoking food and a partnership event on falasgeir muirburn. You are encouraged to join our Peat Year mailing list so we can keep you up to date, just email GCA at: [email protected]

These events are being planned to comply with all COVID restrictions and safety and hygiene practices that may be in place at that time.

You are encouraged to join their mailing list to keep up to date via: [email protected]