Blackhouse Complex, Arnol, Stornoway
(4.6/5 based on 240+ reviews on the web)
Arnol is a small village typical of many settlements of the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Arnol is within the parish of Barvas, and is situated on the A858.Once a thriving township with over forty crofts, it now has a population of about 100 and supports a much lower number of active crofters. It is perhaps best known as the location of the Blackhouse Museum owned by Historic Scotland.HistoryThe township of Arnol has been moved at least three times in the last two hundred years with materials for buildings being robbed and re-used from earlier structures. The early 19th century settlement was actually on the coast but later it was moved inland, closer to the main road. Few of the surviving buildings were lived in for more than 50 years and during that time many were considerably modified, extended and partially rebuilt.The Arnol blackhousesThrough the village the ruins of blackhouses can be seen everywhere. Very few are still roofed but their massive stone walls and ‘organic’ lines are very characteristic. The older ones have rounded ends and appear as a series of conjoined cells typically with a central living area/byre with a porch and barn on either side. The later ones can be identified by their gabled end walls and the presence of a stone dividing wall between living area and byre.The museum at No. 42 is probably the best example of a blackhouse on Lewis having been in state care since the occupants moved out in the 1960s. The building, complete with internal fittings, gives a very good impression of what is would have been like to live in a blackhouse. The central hearth is always kept lit and is essential to keep the roof dry and in good condition.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Unfortunately the village closes in September so we could only walk around the outside of the buildings. It was very pretty and interesting to see the houses all spaced out the way they were. There wa...  more »
  • It gives a great insight into how life has been in the past. There is a nice little model of a husindretning and old tools.
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  • We were hoping someone would explain the house to us but there was no staff to do so. The kids got fun quizzes though which kept them interested for a while. 
Google
  • Cute historic refurbishment. Not all that impressive.