Fly: We recognize that dining flys are a controversial issue in 18th century reenacting. However, given that we are not in Scotland and are frequently camped out in the middle of a field without the benefit of shade in 90 degree weather, and further given that none of us want heat stroke, some canvas shelter is warranted. We are looking at ways of modifying our fly to look more like an 18th century improvised shelter. The village of Appin is on the west coast of Scotland, so perhaps something using oars, spars and a sail would be appropriate. The unit owns a fly, so new members do not need to bring one.
Tent: French 1750 Wedge Tent is preferred, but other mid-18th century British or French military wedge tents may be approved on a case-by-case basis. Not appropriate for 18th c. Scotland: wall tents (these were used primarily by officers), rendezvous shelters or tents from other periods or locations.
Seating: We should strive to keep seating in camp to a minimum, especially for on-the-march scenarios. However, given bad backs and the muddy nature of some events, sitting on the ground is not always possible. A low wooden stool, folding wood or canvas camp stool, or folding canvas chair can be used. Documentable 18th century chair styles(2 ) such as ladderback chairs, windsor chairs or stools, or welsh stick chairs, or plank benches may be used. Not appropriate: rendezvous slat chairs, plank chairs, modern camp chairs or other modern seating.
Tables: Depending on the scenario (i.e. village life, not on-the-march), simple tables may be used. Sawhorse and plank improvised tables or other documentable 18th century table styles such as sawbuck tables are appropriate. Some of the woodworking plans for camp furniture are passable, others are not, so please ask.
Cooking Utensils: Highland Scots had fairly minimal cooking equipment. A flat griddle (spelled and pronounced “girdle”) was used to cook bannocks (oatcakes), turned with a bannock spade (small spatula). Other cooking equipment included an iron kettle, spurtle (stirring stick), wood or ceramic bowls and plates and pitchers, and “onion” shaped glass bottles. Other equipment included querns used for grinding grain. Camp kitchens are not appropriate.
Eating Equipment: Wood or fairly plain pewter spoons. Forks may not have been widely used in the Highlands at this time. Knives ranged from fairly plain to very decorated dirks, but keep it appropriate for your impression. Bowls: best choice are plain wooden bowls, relatively plain 18th century styles of redware or stoneware. Not appropriate: modern wooden bowls, ceramics with modern shapes or glazes. Copper or tin mugs and dishes are also appropriate. Pewter should be used sparingly, and if you have silver in camp we’ll ask you where you stole it. For on-the-march scenarios, keep it to the minimum — cup, bowl, spoon.
Baskets: Willow and hazel baskets were the most common style of basket, though rush, straw and bramble were also used. Rough creels woven of hazel rods were common for carrying peat and fish. Asian baskets, which are being imported in large numbers right now, are not appropriate. Ash or oak splits, while not inappropriate per se, were not the most common material. If you have questions about an appropriate style, please ask.
Other Equipment: For village impressions, we have more leeway to bring items such as leatherworking tools, textile equipment, small weaving looms, etc. The treadle wheel was not in the Highlands until after the ’45, but walking wheels, low-whorl drop spindles, and wool combs were used. We encourage people to bring handcraft projects to work on. Even on-the-march scenarios provide some scope for this, as camp repairs would have been ongoing, but try to keep the scenario for the event in mind and check with the person coordinating that event if you have questions. We will be adding more information to our Domestic and Industrial Crafts page.