Into the Scattald

Scattald – n the common pasture ground allocated to crofters in Orkney and Shetland for use as grazing.

Our croft is surrounded by scattald.  The hill sheep live there. I needed to get half a bucket of crumbly peat earth for my Venus Flytrap plants so taking bucket and trowel, I went for a walk.

It wasn’t very far to go but it was a bit of a steep climb.

The views were rewarding.

Stourborough Hill is in the distance along with a few treacherous bogs too.  I know this because Haakon and I have fallen in them on occasion.  Possibly not our best ride, to be honest.

I wanted peat as this is the poorest type of earth around.

Local folk have been cutting peat here for millenia.  I was told that they used to bring their ponies carrying large baskets either side to carry them back home too. They would walk in a long string there and back.  I don’t know where they found such well-behaved Shetland ponies.  I wouldn’t trust mine to the end of the track and back!

Anyway, I only needed half a bucket.

It is for my three Venus Flytraps that have been flowering all summer. They have turned to seed now.

I am going to experiment – ie, plant the seeds and see what happens.

I bought these three flytraps last Spring and I am very impressed with how hard they have worked keeping the houseflies down.  They never stop eating.

So that’s the plan. I might look at a YouTube video just to check I am doing it vaguely correctly.  Like most things in this house, it will either work or it won’t.

4 thoughts on “Into the Scattald

  1. Judy Shank

    Your trip brings to mind something that I have oftener wondered about. We watch Gardeners World & Monty is always reminding us not to use peat because we need to preserve our peat areas. However, I’ve always wondered about what are people to do if their ground is basically peat. Your foray to keep your fly traps healthy is a perfect example of this dilemma. Peat is for you, what makes up your soil. In a similar vein, has everyone who lives in a peat rich area been able to give up peat for heating? I would really be interested if you could share what has occurred in your area.Thank you so much.

    1. Frances Post author

      Some folks still dig their peat banks. It is a right that goes with each croft. Not as many as used to be. The peat grows back quickly too. The landscape is not obliterated at all. Crofting law states you cannot dig peat for others or sell it or use mechanical means so the small amount that is cast (official term) doesn’t make any impact on the environment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *