Thatching at ‘Cnoc Bhiosta’
Photograph of Lachie MacLean, Iain and Hugh MacKinnon thatching at ‘Cnoc Bhiosta’ in Kilmoluaig.
Courtesy of Mrs Fiona Munn
Lachie MacLean, Iain and Hugh MacKinnon are pictured here thatching Iain’s house at ‘Cnoc Bhiosta’ in Kilmoluaig. Initially, the thatch is laid over a layer of turfs or sgrothan which are pinned or tied to the roof timbers.
The main roof timbers, ‘ceanna-mhaidean’ or couples, usually of oak, run from the inner wall head to the apex of the roof. Those at the rear are about a foot shorter making the back of the roof slightly steeper than the front. The couples are held together by one or two timbers, making an A-frame.
On top of the couples two or three purlins run lengthwise along the house, over which is laid a layer of finer branches, often hazel. The upper purlins are joined by short lengths of wood which give the roofs their distinctively round shape and allow the thatchers to stand easily on the top.
Colour photograph of thatching at Iain MacKinnon`s croft house in Kilmoluaig.
Thatching Iain MacKinnon`s croft house in Kilmoluaig. L-R: Lachie MacLean, Kilmoluaig; Iain MacKinnon (Iain Chaluim), Kilmoluaig; Iain`s brother Hugh MacKinnon (Eoghann Chaluim), Crossapol.