Live /

Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles are now open, please book your tickets online in advance. We are working hard to open other sites in the coming weeks


Women used wicker baskets like this one to collect peat to use as fuel. Woven from withies (willow branches), the peat basket has a strap so that it could be carried on the back. Peat – an organic soil – was once the main source of heat in homes in the Western Isles. The basket is on display at the Blackhouse, Arnol, where a peat fire still burns in the hearth today.

Peat was cut once a year, in the spring. The blocks of soil were left to dry on the peat bank, then taken home. Women carried the blocks to the road in baskets, and a horse and cart took them the rest of the way. At home, the blocks were built into a large peat stack, for use all year round. There is a still a peat stack behind no. 42, which continues to feed the fire indoors.


Date Made
Early 20th century
570 x 470 x 490mm
Time Period
Property Information
Arnol No 42 Blackhouse
Object Number
Access Status