Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

The blackhouses have seen the cycle of life through generations of crofting families. They were occupied until the early 1970s when the last few elderly residents moved to new accommodation that didn’t need the annual maintenance of thatch and stonework.

The old houses and their surroundings, were declared a conservation area shortly after the last residents left as there was a unique opportunity here to preserve a style of house building which had survived for centuries but which had almost disappeared in the last half of the 20th century – the blackhouse.

The double drystone walls, the low profile and the insulating thatch made the houses suitable for the Hebridean weather, and they were indeed eco-friendly houses in that all the building materials were natural and found locally. Each blackhouse has its own character, named after the family who once lived there.

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