Helping with the peats

Tonight’s post is maybe going to be a wee bit more in depth than I first thought. I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it, but several people have tweeted me in the last few days, asking me to blog about it.

One of the men in our village, Donnie, hasn’t been well recently and isn’t able to cut his peats, so a squad of us went out tonight to cut them for him.

Here is Donnie at the sheep dipping last October, he’s in the orange trousers and the green jacket.


6 of us went out tonight, with 3 taraisgeirs, and managed to get it all done in around 3 hours.

The banks hasn’t been turfed either, so it was all from scratch.


The time flew by, to be honest. Loads of stories being told but few are suitable for a PG audience!

We had, how can I put it, an eclectic mix of folk out tonight. 6 men, but with all their different hats we had 2 Harris Tweed weavers, a fishmonger, Guga Hunter, Yoga Instructor, tv presenter, BT engineer, crofters and a labourer. Multi-talented or what!!


Everyone is from North Dell, apart from Dods, who is from South Dell. I’m not sure what story Dods was telling us here, but I’m sure it was a funny one!


It didn’t take us long to get through everything, though. All done for a few weeks, before we have to lift them.


Now this brings me to the reason I’m writing this post; why do it?

The question is, why not? It’s a no-brainer for any sensible person.

A community isn’t something you can form by bringing together like-minded people, or holding a get together in a hall. It’s a lot more than that. It’s helping your neighbour without expecting anything in return, it’s biting your tongue when you know you’ve got to work together, it’s working together to a common goal. I don’t think it’s something you can manufacture at all.

I like to think it’s one thing we’re really good at in Ness, a lot to do with the fact that we have a strong identity as Niseachs and you’ll find a lot of us are proud to be from here.

I managed to find this picture from several years ago, I’m pretty sure Dods took the photo. It shows a much larger squad cutting the peats of a young family who lost their mother to a terminal illness several years ago. A picture speaks a thousand words.



  1. Donnie is a lovely man for whom I have a great deal of time. It’s wonderful of you all to get together in this way to help him and his household. Well done! ( I remember those south of the river doing it years ago!) There are times I’m very proud to be a Niseach.

  2. I could not agree with you more in what you say about community.It was something I saw and admired when living on Lewis,My husband is one of the three founders of an Lanntair,he did it because it was another type of way community could get together.For years and years he gave hundreds of hours to community theatre again because he saw it as a way of bringing different parts of the community together. On lewis though what we envied was the spirit of place and the strong sense of community and identity there was there. I miss it all.

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