You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Eriskay - A Poem of Remote Lives (clip 2)

A study of Eriskay's crofting life

  • Print All


A film made by Dr Kissling during a sailing holiday and summer spent on the island. A woman shears a fleece by hand, then washes the fleece. There are shots over the crofts. The fleece is the laid out on rocks to dry. The crofters then scrape lichen, or 'crottle,' from the rocks for dye. The lichen is then boiled and the fleece added to the pot to colour it. We see the dyed wool removed from the pot, intercut with shots of fishing boats and their crew. We see the spinning wheels and the wool being carded and spun, and a woman winding a ball of yarn from a swaure frame before laying it round a series of pegs in the ground. A group of women then sit together to 'waulk' the tweed.

Questions & Activities


  • Where is Eriskay?
  • What does 'waulking the tweed' mean?
  • What is a spinning wheel used for?
  • What does the women scrape off the rock and what is it used for?


English / Textiles: Create a list/timeline of all the processes involved in making the tweed.

Textiles: Research the history of creating thread from sheep's wool. If possible, visit the Hawick Towerhouse Museum for the textiles displays. Find out what the modern equivalent of waulking the tweed is today.

Textiles: Research natural dyes and traditional weaving techniques.

Music: Research 'waulking songs' and create your own modern version.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-215-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1701
Date 1935
Genre Documentary
School Subject English, Gaelic, Geography, History, Social Studies
Subject Matter Textiles
Who Dr Werner Kissling (director)
Where Eriskay
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 7:29
Film Length 19:00