Refurbished Gearrannan Blackhouse Hostel officially open

Gearrannan Blackhouse Hostel Opening.  SGD25417
Gearrannan Blackhouse Hostel Opening. SGD25417

Celebrations took place last Thursday (4th July) as the newly refurbished Blackhouse Hostel in Gearrannan village was officially opened.

Rev Calum Iain Macleod returned to the West Side village to cut the ribbon on the blustery Thursday evening with guest, friends and family pouring into to in the warmth of the Blackhouse Hostel.

The Gearrannan Community Trust was established in 1989 to restore a number of ‘blackhouse’ properties - returning the village to its former glory and turning it into one of the most popular sites for visitors to Lewis.

The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village in Carloway was fully restored by the Trust and officially opened in June 2001 by HRH the Princess Royal.

The Hostel however was the first of the Blackhouses to be restored and was originally opened in 1991.

The Hostel was leased to the Gatliff Trust - but when the lease ended several years ago it was decided the building needed a revamp.

Work began again in January this year with one of the dorms being split into two - allowing for an additional family room.

The whole of the interior was also completely renovated.

Rev Calum Iain Macleod was thrilled to be asked to officially re-open the Hostel.

He has been the Project Officer for four years in the 1990s during past renovation stages. Chair of the Trust, Alex Macdonald OBE, also made a speech at the opening - congratulating the community and recognising the work that has gone into the Blackhouse over several decades.

The £85,000 project was funded by £34,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with the remainder coming from the community themselves.

John Macdonald of HIE, commented: “Gearrannan Village offers a unique experience to visitors that cannot be replicated due to the historic nature of the buildings.

“The location is crucial in terms of its attraction for visitors. The area offers spectacular scenery, history, heritage and research has consistently shown that this is one of the most visited sites in the Western Isles.”

He added: “We are delighted to have been able to support the reopening of the hostel by the local community and look forward to continuing to work with them in future developments.”

The Hostel has already proved popular with visitors staying in it last weekend.