Peat Cutting Barvas, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Highlands & Islands, Scotland. SCO 6665
Contributor:David Gowans / Alamy Stock Photo
File size:60 MB (4 MB Compressed download)
Releases:Model - no | Property - noDo I need a release?
Dimensions:5620 x 3733 px | 47.6 x 31.6 cm | 18.7 x 12.4 inches | 300dpi
Date taken:13 June 2010
Location:Barvas, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides. Scotland. UK.
Peat is soft and easily compressed. Under pressure, water in the peat is forced out. Upon drying, peat can be used as a fuel. It has industrial importance as a fuel in some countries, such as Ireland and Finland, where it is harvested on an industrial scale. In many countries, including Ireland and Scotland, where trees are often scarce, peat is traditionally used for cooking and domestic heating. Stacks of drying peat dug from the bogs can still be seen in some rural areas. Peat's insulating properties make it of use to industry. Peat fires are used to dry malted barley for use in Scotch whisky distillation. This gives Scotch whisky its distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness". Although peat has many uses for humans, it also presents severe problems at times. When dry, it can be a major fire hazard, as peat fires can burn almost indefinitely (or at least until the fuel is exhausted). Peat fires can even burn underground, reigniting after the winter, provided there is a source of oxygen. Peat deposits also pose major difficulties to builders of structures, roads, and railways, as they are highly compressible under even small loads. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor in western Scotland, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes. Peat bogs had considerable ritual significance to Bronze Age and Iron Age peoples, who considered them to be home to (or at least associated with) nature gods or spirits. The bodies of the victims of ritual sacrifices have been found in a number of locations in England, Ireland, and especially northern Germany and Denmark, almost perfectly preserved by the tanning properties of the acidic water. (See Tollund Man for one of the most famous examples of a bog body).