NB1944 : Gearrannan - A Blackhouse

taken 7 years ago, near to Na Gearrannan, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Great Britain

Gearrannan - A Blackhouse
Gearrannan - A Blackhouse
One of the blackhouses at Gearrannan, showing clearly the ledge formed by the tops of the walls as the roof sits inside the house's perimeter rather than overlapping it.
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village was lived in by crofting families as recently as 1974, being the last such traditional houses to be inhabited in the Western Isles. Fortunately in 1989 The Gearrannan Trust (Urras nan Gearrannan) was established to restore some of the houses, and now the village is open for visitors. Four of the cottages can be hired as self-catering accommodation, and there used to be a Youth Hostel (which still has a sign saying "Hostel" in the window), but I believe that closed in May 2011 - it may well reopen however.
The village dates back at least 300 years, and these types of cottages would then have been ubiquitous throughout the islands. They were not originally called "blackhouses", this appellation only being given them to signify their difference from the new "white houses" that started to be built from the middle of the C19th.
These simple crofts were all of a fairly standard design: A double dry-stone wall packed with earth, their roofs were of wooden rafters, thatched with either turf or with reeds or straw - or (particularly in Lewis) a combination of straw over turf. The roof being supported on posts that were inside the walls of the building creating a ledge along the top of the walls. The roofs are covered in ropes or netting weighted down with stones. This type of construction may well date back nearly a thousand years.
Inside the croft was usually split into two rooms, originally with animals at one end and humans at the other, later this became a "living room" end and a bedroom end.
At Gearrannan there are a total of nine restored crofts, including a café and one which has been decorated in 1950s style to show what living there was like towards the end of their existence as dwellings.
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NB1944, 78 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 26 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Monday, 17 October, 2011
Geographical Context
Coastal  Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement 
Place (from Tags)
Isle of Lewis 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NB 1927 4419 [10m precision]
WGS84: 58:17.7771N 6:47.5815W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NB 19317 44187
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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Other Tags
Blackhouses  Crofting 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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