Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

This evening, I am posting information on the historic Gearrannan Blackhouse Village on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.

Location is a bay at Carloway, about twenty-five miles west of Stornoway.

The traditional stone built houses with thatched roofs date from the late 19th century and housed a community engaged in traditional fishing and farming activities predicated on a basic, self-sufficiency lifestyle.

Electricity was first introduced in 1952 with piped water and regular milk deliveries in the next decade.However, the last residents were re-housed in 1974 after which the buildings fell into decline.

Restoration commenced following involvement of a local community trust using traditional methods.

Gearrannan is now  a visitor attraction with some cottages available for holiday/vacation rental. At this site is a craft shop, restaurant and Harris Tweed weaving demonstrations.

There is no agreement on the origin of the term ‘blackhouse’. Possibilities include:

  • Colouration of the interior due to smoke rising from open fires.
  • Similar pronunciation of the Gaelic words for thatch and black.
  • Distinction between older houses (such as at Gearrannan) and subsequent modern houses with white facings.

A good spot to connect with the not-so-distant past.

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

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