The skinning of the third and last bog was accomplished with the help of Alastair Watt who took to the ceapair lar (tool for skinning off the heathery top of the bog) as to the manner born - this notwithstanding the fact that the tool/instrument is Iron Age in design and requires an Iron Age constitution. The only other one I have ever seen was in the museum in Stranraer. Mine was given to me by Ian Grant who took pity upon my efforts with a spade, but I had to replace the old shaft with an ash-wood one I selected from a tree and shaped to the precision (and it is precision) required and then commissioned a beautiful new cutting iron from Rob Miller made of the bluest of lovely steel, so all that is left of the original is the handle at the top which I will never abandon. As I have been using this tool for over a decade, I might offer myself up as an exhibit and save the cost of a funeral: but old age and heart disease have obliged me to share the honours with others - hence Alastair, who proved himself worthy while I, a vile apostate, used the chain saw to mark out the bog for the ceapair lar to do its beautiful work.
The chain saw ploy I have only heard of, never seen. Apparently the lads up in Staffin (north Skye) thought it was a good idea and I am an old dog but can still learn a new trick and this would be a brilliant one, were it not a bit rough on the chain saw which kept losing the chain or otherwise protesting at the conditions of employment. My chainsaw is a Husqvarna and I have to credit it with the utmost willingness and high standards of performance under the most abusive of employers. Anyway "at the heel of the hunt" as they say in Ireland, the job got done, the third bog is skinned and this morning the ground was covered in snow so any hope of starting cutting was abandoned and I laboured on dear old Sir. A.C.Mackenzie instead for the Musica Scotica conference .
Here are a couple images taken by Bar of the Iron Age and post-modernist proceedings on the bog. On the left Alastair proves his Iron Age credentials while I conduct a religious service with the chain saw. On the right, I and the chain saw find mutual joy in disturbing the song of the lark with the fine ripping noises of an internal combustion engine under strain being revved. You really have to be a musician to appreciate these things.
John Purser is widely known as a composer, musicologist, poet, playwright, and broadcaster.