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Dr Werner Kissling: A Retrospective

Ropes and Creels, South Uist



'Ropes and creels, South Uist, 1936 From the ropes they make with natural fibres and grasses, the people of the Western Isles developed a technique with which they manufactured horse collars and mats to serve as horse covers.


a) A horse cover or 'plàd' has been made from rope and twisted by hand out of bent grass. Separated from the main fabric by a small piece of wood the centre piece on which the creel saddle will rest is woven on to give double strength.


b) The creel is constructed from the bottom upwards on a perforated wooden frame, after which the seasoned hazel rods which make the uprights are bent over to form the foot of it.


c) South Uist crofter twisting a horse hair rope single-handed with the aid of a cross-shaped wooden gadget. The horse hair, combed and rolled into a tuft before twisting, produced a strong elastic rope for tethering horses or for fishing lines.


d) Ponies with plàd in position'


Dr Kissling's note, 1978


These photographs were taken in Peninerine and Lochboisdale, South Uist.


The bottom right photograph is from Eriskay and shows Maryanne MacInnes and Alan Johnstone.


Research note, 2019


With thanks to the School of Scottish Studies Archives for additional information.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
PP/KISSLING COLLECTION, Retrospective 1978/18-21
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
Dumfries & Galloway Council