Thatching Straw

One of the delightful aspects of the parish is the growing and harvesting, in a traditional manner, of a very particular and unusual crop. The crop is a wheat and reed hybrid called Triticale and it is being grown for thatching. In the United Kingdom, the demand for high quality cereal straw for thatching exceeds supply, Triticale is an ideal crop for thatching particularly as many other wheat varieties suitable for thatching will become less available in the future. Here the sheaves are stacked together to form stooks, this allows both the sun and wind to get to the stalks to dry them.

The early machines simply cut the crop and left it on the ground for gathering by hand into sheaves but by the last quarter of the 19th century, an effective knotting mechanism had been devised so that the machine could tie the sheaves as well. These binders remained in common use until ultimately replaced by the combined harvester in the middle years of the 20th century.



Harvest photographs © Copyright Maigheach-gheal licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.