Glencoe Folk Museum
This hoof fungus, or fomes fomentarius, is found growing in the Highlands on silver birch trees. Its name comes from its unusual shape, like a horse’s hoof.
This particular example was intended for making shinty balls, more usually formed from cork. Its firm, spongy texture would have felt similar to cork once encased in leather. It certainly shows an inventive use of natural materials.
Shinty is a traditional Highland sport that has been played for around 2,000 years. It is often compared to field hockey. However, there are crucial differences. Unlike hockey, shinty is a full contact sport and players are able to use both sides of the stick and play the ball in the air.