Kate MacDonald of Balephuil
Photograph of Kate MacDonald standing on the ‘tobhta’ of her house in Balephuil in the 1940s.
Courtesy of Ms Katina MacDonald
Tiree’s thatched houses are built with double walls, between five feet thick and six or seven feet high, filled with sand and rubble known as the hearting. Since the roof rests on the inner wall, the top of the hearting and outer wall form a wide ledge known as ‘an tobhta’.
When the walls are un-mortared this can be left open and grass and sometimes flowers grow there. In summer the dogs would often lie there in the sun and sometimes sheep would climb up to graze.
Nowadays the spaces between the stones are usually filled with mortar so that the walls can no longer ‘breathe’ and the tobhta is sealed with concrete.
Black and white photograph of Kate MacDonald of Balephuil taken in the 1940s.
Kate MacDonald of Balephuil standing on the tobhta of her house, taken in the 1940s.