June 28, 2012

Scotland XVII - The Blackhouses of Lewis (Garenin, Lewis, Scotland)

Digital original
 The roofs of the blackhouses at Garenin, on the isle of Lewis, in the outer Hebrides. Although the Lewis blackhouses have a look of real antiquity, most of the upstanding ruins were built less than 150 years ago. Many were still roofed until the 1970s but without the necessary annual repairs deteriorated rapidly; as people moved into more modern dwellings with indoor plumbing and better heating, most have fallen into ruin. However, blackhouses are increasingly being restored, especially for use as holiday accommodation.
Digital original
The blackhouses on the Isle of Lewis have roofs thatched with cereal straw over turf and thick, stone-lined walls with an earthen core. Roof timbers rise from the inner face of the walls providing a characteristic ledge at the wall head (tobhta). This gives access to the roof for thatching. Both the animals and occupants shared the same door, living at different ends of the same space. Several long ranges, or rooms, were usually built alongside each other, each one having its own ridgeline giving them the very distinctive look of the Lewis blackhouse.
Digital original
A side effect of the wet environment of Scotland.

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