The thatched stone blackhouses of Gearrannan, Scotland


These are the stone blackhouses of Gearrannan on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Originally built to share with farm animals, they were called black because they were smoke filled to preserve the thatch. New homes built in the 1800's separated people from their animals and were called 'white houses'.


The homes had to withstand extreme weather so the thatch was secured by netting with large stones tied at the ends. The blackhouse is built on clay where the base stones of the wall stand on pebbles to prevent movement. The thick insulated walls of the home are built from two layers of dry stone with an infill of peat.