The Moirlanich Longhouse is a beautifully conserved dwelling and byre in Glen Lochay, 1 mile NW of Killin and offers a unique insight into rural life in 19th-century and early 20th century Scotland. There are 5 jointed and pegged cruck couples, two of which can be viewed easily in the byre end of the house. Crucks, or couples as they were often called in Scotland, comprised pairs of curved timbers joined at the top to carry the enormous weight of the roof (built of timber, turf and thatch) directly to the ground, taking the strain off the side walls, which were often lightly-built of turf or clay. Sometimes the builders were able to use single timbers, selected from the curved bough of a tree, though it was more common for several shorter lengths to be used, pinned together with wooden dowels. The roof was originally thatched but this was raked back in the 1940s and covered with corrugated tin.
Practically unchanged since it was last lived in, this historic cruck-framed cottage still has many of its original features, including a 'hingin' lum’ (hanging chimney ), Scotch dresser and box beds. There are also surviving layers of early 20th century wallpaper, some of which have been separated and displayed.
Some of the contents of the house are original, and others were chosen for authenticity, based on archaeological evidence and the personal recollections of people who knew the Robertson family that lived here until 1968.
As well as the Longhouse itself, you can also see an exhibition in the Display Hut next door that contains examples of clothes found in the house, some archaeological finds, and information, documents and photographs on the building's history and restoration. The Display Hut was previously a tool store for the farm.
Before you enter this historic longhouse, take a look at the interpretation panel outside. It shows how all the different parts of the house would have been used by the Robertson family, which really helps to bring it all to life.
Inside, the kitchen, dairy and best room have been restored to show how they would have looked back in the 20th –century. The byre, where the cows were milked and where some of the animals lived at night, is essentially part of the house too, as it's separated from the dairy by a partition.
There are all kinds of fascinating features and domestic items to look at, from the 'hingin’ lum' (hanging chimney )in the kitchen, the cruck roof, and the curtained box beds that slept two or even three family members, to the 'American Gingerbread' clock and the Scotch dresser.
Volunteers from Killin Heritage Society are on hand, and answer any questions you might have and some have personal recollections of the house and its history.
You can find out more in the Display Hut next door, which has an exhibition of documents, photographs and other information relating to the history of the house, and the restoration project, and see some clothes belonging to the Robertsons, including their 'Sunday best’.
People have lived and worked in this area for thousands of years – there's archaeological evidence of settlers here going back to Neolithic times.
The first time the name Moirlanich appeared on maps though was in Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland (1745-1755), where it appears as a circular group of seven buildings, possibly a ‘fermtoun’. These would have been turf-walled buildings, rather than stone, but probably still using cruck frames.
The Robertsons lived at Moirlanich from at least 1809 – when they first appeared in tenant records – until 1968, when the last family member died. From the early 19th century the settlement is listed as Easter Moirlanich and there is also a Wester Moirlanich. At Easter Moirlanich there were three cottages until the mid-19th century. The ruined gable end of one cottage can still be seen.
There are plenty of activities available to make a visit to Moirlanich Longhouse a fun – and educational – experience for children of all ages. All of these should keep the kids busy while the adults explore the Longhouse and Display Hut.They'll even get a small prize if they complete the activities.
The longhouse is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and more information on opening times and entrance fees is available on it’s website at http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Moirlanich-Longhouse/Property-description
If you are planning to stay in central Scotland in one of our self-catering holiday cottages why not consider a trip to the Moirlanich Longhouse for an interesting family day out at this visitor attraction.