The Inner Hebrides

Island Washing, Skye, Scotland

Washing drying in the sun, on the Isle of Skye, taken on holiday May 2016.  I see washing hanging out and I have to take a photo…..I’m not sure why, I just like seeing it dancing in the wind, especially if it’s really windy.  Also the cottage reminded me of the ones that we had seen on the Isle of Tiree, last year 2016, with the black stones, which are called ‘Pudding Houses’  or ‘Spotted Houses’

I also found another example, where you can see the stone work more clearly.  This cottage was a little further away from the first cottage, the first cottage didn’t have bay windows, but otherwise it’s quite similar. 

May 2017

Fairy Hill Cottage, Isle of Islay, Scotland

This is another ‘Islay Cottage’  but this time, a sweet little Victorian one.  We passed Fairy Hill Cottage in Kildalton, Islay,  which is at the end of the Whisky trail, after passing the distilleries of Laphroaig, Lagavulin and finally Ardbeg, all of which we did visit.  The little cottage is at the foot of Fairy Hill, which is in the heart of a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.  You pass through the bluebell wood before you reach the cottage, which makes it a little bit more magical, but I only managed to get a little of the hill.  I think the Fairy Hill is called Cnoc Rhaonastil, and was long known to be the place of the faerie-folk and it’s thought that the Queen of Faerie herself lived here. 

May 2016 – Isle Islay, Scotland  

Crosabol/Crossapol Beach, Isle of Tiree, Scotland

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How could I have missed this stunning beach from my original posts from last year’s visit.  Tiree a small island off the west of Scotland, has some of the loveliest sandiest beaches that I have ever seen and as it was May, they were empty.  More visitors arrive later, but May is normally quite bodiless.  You can see that our little dog Nancy loved the beach, and of course she was quite safe to run as far as she wanted to.  Next stop an ancient church and burial ground.

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May 2016

The Finished Roof – Isle of Tiree, Scotland

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While on the Isle of Tiree, off the west coast of Scotland, I took many photos of the different dwellings on the island.  These are the roofs on the ‘blackhouses’ that have been restored with felt and then sealed, they would have been thatched when first built.  In yesterdays post, I showed you some that were in the process of being renovated, but these cottages have been finished for a while.  To me they look like the hulls of upturned boats, maybe thats what the ‘blackhouses’ were based on many years ago.  As the Island is four hours sailing to the nearest port of Oban, I should think it is cheaper and quicker to re-roof with felt, then buying slates and I should think re-thatching would be an astromical price.  I must admit that I have not seen this process of roofing any of the other Islands, there could be, but not that I have noticed and first, it looked a little strange.  But now I can see that it makes quite a lot of sense, especially with the high winds that encroach on the island, the roofs are tightly seal against the weather, well thats my thoughts on the subject……most probably totally incorrect…..but it does make sense 🙂

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House Repairs – Isle of Tiree, Scotland

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When we were visiting the Isle of Tiree off the west coast of Scotland in May 2016, I noticed quite a few homes were being renovated.  The above house was the largest and they were making a nice job as far as I could see, also the second to last photo, looks like a new build.  The rest were the old ‘blackhouse’ cottages that were having roof repairs.  It seems that they re-coat the roof, which would have been thatched, with felt and then seal it.  I will post some really good examples of cottage renovations.   I really love the make do and mend approach of these few cottages, but then this is an island, four hours sail time to the nearest mainland port, which is Oban, no ‘do it yourself’ shops here, you use what you have to hand.

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May 2016

Balevullin Beach, Isle of Tiree, Scotland

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The Isle of Tiree off the west coast of Scotland has some of the most beautiful beaches that you could ever wish for, and in the month of May, mostly to yourselves.   We visited a few on our visit to the island and each beach has a noticeboard which gives you information on the area.

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The special feature of this beach is the Machair, the wonderful grassland, which in the summer is covered in wild flowers.  We were too early for that spectular display, but the daisies and buttercups were starting to put on a show.

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The beaches have white sands and beautiful blue seas, and I think on this beach we saw one other couple walking.  Nancy, our little dog, had a quick walk, she was on a mission to see how many she could make us visit and did quite well really, so there are more beaches to come.

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May 2016

Blackhouses of Tiree – Scotland

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The other buildings on the Isle of Tiree, off the west coast of Scotland, are ‘blackhouse’ or ‘whitehouse’ cottages, these can be found on most of the Scottish islands. They do differ slightly on each island, but basically are the same.  On Tiree, two thick walls are filled in between with sand, which is different to other islands.  There are a dozen thatched cottages left on the island, as well as many that have been restored, but without their thatch, there will be a separate post on those.  I did find some that were for sale which are in need of restoration, but with some remnants of thatch, so have added them to this post.  The ‘blackhouse’ were to house men and beast, with no opening for the fire, therefore the name blackhouse.  Later the animals moved and chimneys were installed, hence the name whitehouse.  These photos were taken in May 2016.