On the exposed Atlantic coast of the Isle of Lewis the blackhouse village of Gearrannan lies steeped in history and sited in an environment of outstanding natural beauty. Since 1989 the local community trust Urras nan Gearrannan (the Garenin Trust) has been restoring the once derelict properties and croft land to recreate an authentic settlement. Traditional methods have been used to recreate the drystone masonry and thatched roofing of the original croft houses.
The Gearrannan village is close to other areas of interest, such as the world famous Calanais Standing Stones and the Iron Age D¨n Carloway Broch.
The typical Gearrannan blackhouse was a long, rectangular building forty to fifty feet in length, with an interior width of ten to twelve feet. All the corners in the outside walls were rounded, and great care was taken to ensure that the outer walls, which were of undressed stone, had a slight slant to allow the rain to drip off and not seep into the interior.
The thatched roof was a fundamental characteristic of the blackhouse. Thatching in Gearrannan was a family or community activity, with the skills being passed from generation to generation.
I really loved the light on the horizon. This was late in the afternoon/evening in August in Scotland so the light was quite interesting.
The village is a wonderful place to stay and I spent a number of days exploring the island. Will certainly be going back again.
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