Shielings :: Shared Description

Shielings were moorland summer grazings for cattle. Shieling huts (often also referred to as shielings) were dwellings located within the shieling. They were usually occupied from May until the “flitting” in September. In early May the men of a village would go onto the moor to check and repair the shieling huts. They would be joined by the women and children for one night before the men returned to the village to tend to crops or to travel away for summer work such as fishing. The women and children would spend the summer at the shielings tending the cattle and making cheese and butter, some of which was for immediate use but most was salted to preserve it for the winter. Peat cutting for fuel would also be done. Evenings would be spent making music and story telling. Visits were made between the shielings of different villages.

The shieling huts were made from materials available in the immediate vicinity. They usually had walls made of stone or turf, turf roofs and compacted earth or clay floors. In coastal areas and on the islands rafters would be made from locally collected driftwood. Usually there would be a single doorway, facing away from the prevailing wind (although some shieling huts have two doors opposite each other), and often no windows. Furniture built into shieling huts included stone or turf beds covered with heather, turf seats and cupboards and niches built into the stone wall, often one above the door. Other furniture would be carried out onto the moor for the season. In places where the practice of using shielings continued into the 20th century, shieling huts can be found which are constructed making more extensive use of timber than in the traditional type, along with other materials such as tin and bitumen. There are also examples of buses and caravans used as shieling huts.

The Clearances and ongoing changes in agricultural methods meant that the shieling tradition had generally ended by the close of the nineteenth century. In places it continued for longer and, particularly on Lewis, some shieling huts are still used today during the peat cutting season and as summer retreats.

The remains of shieling huts can be seen as

changes in vegetation: ND1340 : Shieling site by the Allt a' Cheracher ;
shieling mounds where successive shieling huts have been built on the same site: NB5059 : Shieling mounds by the Abhainn Dhail, Isle of Lewis ;
footings: NB5357 : Shieling footings beside the Feadan Mòr, Isle of Lewis ; and
more substantial remains: NB3040 : Shieling above Gleann Leitir, Isle of Lewis .

Examples of modern shielings are shown at:

NB5458 : Shieling, Airigh A' Bhealaich, Isle of Lewis and NB5458 : Disused shieling, Airigh A' Bhealaich, Isle of Lewis .
by Claire Pegrum
Related descriptions Selection is automatic and approximate, it might not always select closely matching descriptions

113 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

NB3441 : Shieling hut, Ròiseal Mòr, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NM9199 : Ruined shieling hut and shelter beside a burn by Richard Law
NB3232 : Shieling hut footings, Gillebish, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB2023 : Shieling hut, Airigh Cnoc Corrach Cul na Beinne, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4658 : Cairn, Eitacleit, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4048 : Shieling hut, Gearraidh Euscleit, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB2520 : Shieling hut footings, Airigh Mhula, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3237 : Shieling hut by Loch na Gainmhich, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3136 : Shieling on the eastern slopes of Beinn Mhaol Stacaiseal, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3340 : Shieling hut, Airighean Suainagadail, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4554 : Shieling by the Abhainn a' Ghlinne Ruaidh, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3038 : Shieling, Botha Clach, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4250 : Shieling hut by Loch Foisneabhat, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3543 : Shieling hut by Loch Ceartabhat, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NM6976 : Shieling hut above the Allt Mhic Eòghainn, Inverness-shire by Claire Pegrum
NB2522 : Remains of an enclosure, Totaral, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB2533 : Shieling, Gearraidh Ghreineabhal, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3530 : Shieling hut, Airidh a' Bhuna, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3832 : Shieling hut, Airigh an da Mhile, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB2320 : Enclosure footings, Airigh Sgre, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4553 : Shieling, Crò Mill a' Phealla, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3137 : Shieling hut by Loch Gainmheach nam Faoileag, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB1923 : Shieling hut, Gearraidh a' Sgurain, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB3135 : Shieling hut on the eastern slopes of Beinn Mhaol Stacaiseal, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum
NB4352 : Shieling hut, Àirighean Molagro, Isle of Lewis by Claire Pegrum

... and 88 more images.

These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Fri, 30 Dec 2016, Updated: Sat, 8 Jun 2019

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2016 Claire Pegrum, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

You are not logged in login | register