Tattie Skulls were used to collect potatoes (tatties) during the potato harvest throughout lowland Scotland. They were made with different materials, for example split wood, cane, or willow rods, in different places, but generally were of similar design, size and shape everywhere.
This design consisted a wooden hoop and ribs to make a framework around which finer rods or split wood was woven. It seems that, depending on the materials available, the frames were made of split oak or hazel rods and the weavers were split wood, willow, cane, or a mixture of these. The split wood was usually oak slaths. During the middle of the 20th century wire baskets replaced those made from natural materials, and more recently plastic baskets were used. These retained the familiar shape and size of the original tattie skulls.
Potato harvesting generally took place in October and often whole families would be involved, and the school holidays were arranged to coincide with the harvest. In some places like Arran the holidays are still know as the ‘tattie holidays’! Sometimes squads of workers from nearby towns or migrant workers from Ireland were employed to help with the harvest.
The baskets full of potatoes were emptied into carts for transportation.