Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The west side

I wouldn't have felt I was really in Stornoway without a cup of coffee at the Woodlands Centre, which so often features on Graham's blog.  We started our tripping for our third day here with coffee and cake and a wander around to admire the carved woodwork and the mist wrapped harbour.

We headed across Peatland Road towards the west, out across the moors.  A narrow road with very little traffic.  I took dozens of photos, just loved this landscape.  Big skies, very few dwellings apart from mostly abandoned little sheilings

The Garenin Black House Village

Since I've returned back home I've seen this Black House Village listed among the top 10 most romantic places for a wedding proposal.  I'm pretty sure I don't have a romantic bone in my body, I'd much prefer to not be distracted when in a place with so much to see. The location is magnificent with marvellous coastal views and the blackhouse cottages are intriguing.  The village dates back to the 17th century when the people lived in thatched cottages known as blackhouses, built of stone and turf. 

Nine cottages have been preserved, and turned into a combination of heritage museum and traditional accommodation, using traditional building methods and tools with the discreet integration of modern conveniences.  Wouldn't it be lovely to stay in one of these little houses for a night or two?



It must have been the perfect weather that brought so many men out to work on the thatched roofs of the cottages.  In this next photo you can clearly see the fishing net which is used to hold the thatch in place during storms.  And I imagine the storms might be quite fierce here on this exposed Atlantic coast.


One of the men doing the thatching struck me as being a professional.  He was working industriously, his movements quick and confident.  When I'm sewing I usually have a few pins between my lips without realizing it.  This guy held the straw for the thatch in the same way.


Not far away, in the Blackhouse at Arnol is the residence of a crofting family and their animals which has been preserved at it was when they moved out in 1966.  I have difficulty with the thought that people were living like this as recently as that.  On the other hand I like the thought that some people kept true to their traditions.  This is the last of the blackhouses as they used to be.  Thanks, Graham, for this photo taken in the kitchen of the fireplace where the fire was never allowed to go out.


  1. Quite a place. I agree about preserving traditions. Nice to know that people think they are worthwhile.

  2. It is a beautiful place, I shall have to return one day. I can't believe the weather.

  3. After the terrible summer we've had - the worst for the last 40 years at least - you brought some sun and it was very welcome. I'm glad that you saw my home at its best.

  4. Yes, i'd love to stay in one of those cottages, but i don't know that i'd have the least idea how to manage if they were all still like the traditional one, with an open fire for cooking. That would take a lot of learning!

  5. Romantic, peaceful, and someplace I would love to be or visit sometime!


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