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The Glendaruel  Spade
Forestry Memories
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No: 3677   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 2017
The Glendaruel Spade

The spade is courtesy of Ian Adams of Glenbranter Forest Office who has collected a considerable amount of old forestry tools.

Ian is holding onto a manufactured Glendaruel Spade used for planting young trees into forest ploughing in the 1960s. At that time the plough ribbons produced by the single furrow Cuthbertson ploughs were very deep getting on for 10 -12 inches thick. The only way to enable a small tree to be planted with its roots close to the vegetation layer sandwich under the plough ribbon was to cut out a block of peat from the top of the ribbon and then in the recess place the tree in another cut that extended down towards the vegetation layer. This operation entailed the use of a well sharpened garden space to make sometimes three cuts to remove the peat block (called a step) and then another cut to open up the recess to take the young tree which was then well firmed in by the careful thump of the booted foot. The Glendaruel spade reduced the cutting actions to at most two and speeded up the job.

The writer recalls visiting Glendaruel Forest in the mid 1960s and seeing the spade being used. It worked well on the soft friable peats of which there seemed to be large areas but much less well so on the tough stringy peats. The ordinary large garden spade had been modified locally at that time but as can be seen here in the attached PDF the design was taken up by Bulldog tool manufacturers. The label appears to read ‘Bulldog Made in England 2’. This spade of course fell into disuse with the advent of a peat step cutter fitted onto the Cuthberson plough.

Any information on and stories about this spade and its invention would be very welcome.
Picture added on 08 May 2017 at 08:34
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Tools, equipment and clothing
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