P6 pupils from Central Primary School celebrated the end of their transition topic this year at the High School in Inverness with a day of activities and their own version of a Caithness crofting tradition, half-yoking.
During a day of heavy manual labour in the fields, crofters would stop early afternoon to rest and have something to eat and allow their horses to do the same. Hence the term half yoking as the horses would be partially detached from the ploughs.
Since the launch of the project on 12th of January pupils have been learning about many aspects of crofting both at their own school and on visits to the High School. They have learnt about what crofters grew, what they ate and how they made and dyed their own clothes. They planted seeds in the extensive garden at the High School and also took part in science experiments to learn about how plants such as gorse, red cabbage and even grass was used to dye wool. With support from the Highland Guild of Spinners and Weavers they learnt how to spin and weave on looms and wheels provided by Crofting Connections.
On Thursday 25th June, the pupils presented their achievements to their parents and guardians and took them round displays of their work. The morning was devoted to baking for the visitors and also harvesting some crops (a key aspect of half yoking) and taking their own break in the ‘field’ to have something to eat. Children then showed the adults the dyeing process, how to mill grain and how to weave.
All the pupils were very engaged in a busy hall of visitors with lots of pride in their achievements. Thanks to all the teachers who were very committed to the project which is set to continue with the same pupils into their final year at primary school next year.