An Sgoth

I’m going to quote directly here – I can’t better the original, and it’s well worth reading here and in the original, linked below.

‘An Sgoth is a one-hour documentary film produced for BBC2 Scotland as part of their Gaelic service and was first broadcast in January 1995. The programme records the traditional boat building skills in the Hebrides, following the construction of a ‘sgoth’, from the felling of the timber to the launch of the finished boat. The project grew from the shared vision of John Murdo MacLeod, master boatbuilder, and Sam Maynard, Director of Eòlas, an independent film production company based in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

‘The ‘sgoth niseach’ was the type of boat used in the Ness district on the north coast of Lewis, where there was a thriving cod and ling fishery during the latter decades of the 19th century. These clinker-built boats, the hull being constructed of overlapping planks, had an overall length of 33 feet; 21 feet on the keel with a curved rake on the bow and straight on the stern. The beam was 11’ 3”, the generous width necessary for buoyancy in the sea conditions in which they worked. The sgoths fished in the turbulent waters of the minches, between the isles and the mainland, and offshore to the north and west. They also took part in the annual gannet harvest, almost 30 miles out from their home ports of Ness and Skigersta. These were four-oared open craft, with four-sided sails (lug-sails) bent and suspended from a wooden yard, and whilst similar boats were built in Orkney, no area other than Ness had completely open boats of this size.’

For more on this project, and some striking photos:

There’s a nice shot of John Murdo Mcleod here:

And a link to the An Sulaire Trust here:

An Sulaire

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