The heather shieling at the Highland Folk Museum, Scotland.

Properly done a heather thatch will last 20-30 years...



This is a shieling, a hut once common in wild and lonely places in the hills and mountains of Scotland. This shieling is at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Scotland. Farmers and their families lived in shielings during the summer while their livestock grazed on the common land.


Shielings fell out of use by the end of the 17th century, although in remote areas they were still used into the 18th. This shieling has stone and turf walls with two roundwoods supporting the ridge which is heather thatched. The shieling is mentioned in folk music in the song Mairi's Wedding:


Step we gaily on we go
Heel for heel and toe for toe
Arm and arm and on we go
All for Mairi's wedding

Over hill-ways up and down
Myrtle green and bracken brown
Past the shieling through the town
All for sake of Mairi.


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