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Researching local crofts and learning weaving at Sandbank PS
Posted: 02/06/2014

The Gàidhlig medium P6/7 class at Sandbank Primary School in Argyll have been working with Crofting Connections this year. Class teacher Catriona MacPhail tells us about the exciting work the class have done so far and their plans for the remainder of the year.

Last term we did some very exciting work in conjunction with Argyll Mausoleum in Kilmun on the shores of the Holy Loch We researched what domestic lives in the last 200 years were like for local people, what their occupations were and also found out about the Campbell clan dynasty. 

research from graves

We also took part in workshops on thatching a house, making rope from rushes and making sheep hurdles from willow. 

making rope from rushes

cutting reeds thatching a model roof
sheep hurdle sheep hurdle


We learnt how important basket making was for the home, fishing and farming purposes where peat creels, pony panniers, lobster pots, quarter cranns eel traps were all made and used by local people to enable them to catch and carry the food which contributed to their healthy and very locally produced diet.

baskets weaving willow


The research led to an exhibition of our work in the Burgh Halls, Dunoon which was open to the public for one weekend.  Some of the children came along and acted as curators of our own temporary museum. 

Fiddlers outside the exhibition hall in Dunoon

This term we are continuing the work by measuring the ruins of an abandoned crofting township which has an actual corn kiln.  In spring we will be planting our heritage and modern cereal seeds (black oats, bere and modern oats and barley) supplied by Crofting Connections.  We hope to join a local farmer to help with shearing so that we can learn more about sheep and wool. 

Our children’s experience is reflected in these quotes:
“Rinn sinn proiseact a bha gle inntinneach agus sporsail.  Dh’ionnsaich sinn moran mun laithean a dh’fhalbh agus tha sinn gu math taingeal gu bheil dealan agus innealan san taighean againne nach robh acasan.” P7
“Chord an obair rinn agus tha sinn a’coimhead air adhart airson barrachd rudan a dheanamh an teirm seo cuideachd.” P6