Making a Ba'
Each Ba' game is played with a new ba', each specially
made for the game.
The ba's are handmade by one of a few Orcadian
ba' makers and is a piece of exquisite craftsmanship.
The four or five millimetre thick leather panels
that make up the ba' case are hand-stitched - it is thought that
machine stitching is not dependable and will not stand up to the
pressures of the game - and then stuffed with cork dust.
The cork stuffing not only makes the completed
ba' hard, but ensures it will float, should it reach the Doonie
goal and end up in the sea.
Half of each alternating leather panel is painted
black with the remaining panels stained a natural leather colour.
One former ba' maker, Mr Jim Harrison, is recorded
as saying it took approximately four days to create one ba' - the
stitching alone, he said, could take two days.
A completed Men's ba' weighs about 3 lbs with
a circumference of approximately 28 inches. The Boys' Ba' is slightly
Every year, in the final weeks leading up to each
game, the finished ba's are displayed in various shop windows in
Kirkwall before being thrown to the pack on Christmas and New Year's