Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is a coastal crofting village on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, north of Carloway. The area has been settled since ancient times, but the village at Garenin dates to the 17th century. Garenin inhabitants lived in a type of thatched cottage known as a ‘blackhouse’, built of stone and turf, with walls of double thickness.
The traditional cottages at Garenin are a vestige of an earlier age, a reminder of Hebridean heritage that is almost lost. Nine cottages have been preserved, and turned into a combination of heritage museum and traditional accommodation, using traditional building methods and tools.
The blackhouses were inhabitted until 1974, when the last inhabitants moved into modern housing. For a time the cottages stood empty, and began to fall into decay. But a local group stepped in to restore the blackhouses and preserve the heritage of a way of life that was in danger of disappearing forever.