Foot plough

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The foot plough is a type of spade used for cultivation, in the north west of Scotland. The Scottish Gaelic language contains many terms for the various varieties, e.g. cas-dhìreach (straight foot) for the straighter variety and on, but cas-chrom (bent foot) is the most common variety and refers to the crooked spade. Although no longer as common as they once were, they are still used in some places, especially the Outer Hebrides.

It is an implement of tillage peculiar to the Highlands, used for turning the ground where an ordinary plough cannot work on account of the stony ground. It is of great antiquity and is described as follows by Armstrong:

“It is inexpeditious in comparison with the plough, eight men being necessary to dig as much with it in one day, as a horse would plough in the same time. It is chiefly used for tillage, and consists of a crooked piece of wood, the lower end somewhat thick, about two-and-a-half feet in length, pretty straight, and armed at the end with iron made thin and square to cut the earth. The upper end of this instrument is called the ‘shaft’, and the lower the ‘head’. The shaft above the crook is pretty straight, being six feet long, and tapering towards the end which is slender. Just below the crook or angle, there must be a hole wherein a straight peg must be fixed, for the workman’s right foot in order to push the instrument into the earth; while in the mean time, standing on his left foot, and holding the shaft firmly with......

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