Coll View: The story so far

I live on the Isle of Tiree, a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

I live in my family’s old croft house and am trying to figure out how to bring it back from years of being empty, and inject some new life into the place.

It is quite an amazing place. My Dad has covered the history of the house in great detail on his blog – look for the chapters called ‘autobiography’

‘Coll View’, my family home in Tiree, stands on a north-south alignment by the road-side in Caolas, and looks across to the island of Coll.  It is not the average outsider’s concept of a ‘cottage’ in the Highlands.  It is a large, stone-built farm-house of Lowland type, consisting of a main building with storm windows, and a smaller extension in similar style with a skylight on its north gable.  To the west and east sides of this smaller extension have been added two more extensions, now accommodating a kitchen and a bathroom respectively.  At its southern gable, and separated from it by a track, stands another small house, felt-roofed and aligned east-west. This is the ‘pump house’, where washing and other chores were undertaken.

As the name-board above the front door of the main house declares, it was built in 1891.  A surviving receipt indicates the date, 22 January 1891, when the house was completed. The mason, Donald McInnes, Uig, Island of Coll, was then paid for ‘the erection and the building of a dwelling house’.  The cost of the mason’s labours was £13.8/-, and he received another £1 in May of that year for ‘pointing’. Another receipt shows that the wood for roofing and flooring was obtained from the City Saw Mills in Glasgow in November 1890. It is likely that the project was in train for some time before then.  Most of  the house was probably built in the autumn of 1890, as soon as the harvest was finished.

So far I have, with help from friends, made a good start, but there is a long way to go!

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