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Skye - Black Houses and Illicit Stills


Black Houses - Two Skye Museums

The Black House was the traditional habitation in the Hebrides. Long, dry stone constructed cottages with thatched, or turf roof, low doors and narrow windows. The family would live in one side, cooking and keeping warm from a single peat fire burning in the centre of the room.

Skye - Folk Museum at Colbost

Colbost Folk Museum © Hugh Taylor

Travel Facts

There were no chimneys and the smoke would permeate the living space making it very smoky. Separated by a thin wooden partition the cattle would live in the other side of the house. Some Black Houses were still in use until the late 1960’s

The Folk Museum at Colbost has the appearance of a lived in dwelling. Sheep cluster round the door and a huge, black pot hangs from a chain suspended from the rook as the peat smoke curls lazily past it to the rafters. A smaller thatched hut behind the cottage contains the still where the tenant made his own illegal whisky.

Skye - Museum of Island Life interior

Inside the Museum of Island Life

© Hugh Taylor

North of Uig the Museum of Island Life has recreated a small township complete with croft house, barn, blacksmiths and weavers shed. In the graveyard behind the museum is the memorial and last resting place of Flora MacDonald with views across the The Minch to her birthplace of Uist.

Skye - Museum of Island Life

Museum of Island Life © Hugh Taylor


Over The Sea to Skye



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