The Gearrannan Project – Community Archaeology and History in the Western Isles


Comann Eachdraidh Charlabhagh (Carloway Historical Society) celebrates £9,700 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Gearrannan Project is directed by Dr. Mary Macleod of Lews Castle College and is using archaeology, oral history, place names and documents, to examine social and environmental sustainability through time in the township of Gearrannan, on the Atlantic Coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Comann Eachdraidh Charlabhagh has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage 1 grant, it was announced today. An exciting new project, the Gearrannan Oral History Project, in Carloway, led by the historical society, has been given £9,700 to train volunteers to record memories and stories relating to the township of Gearrannan in Carloway, and explore how people lived in this small village in both the distant and recent past.

Comann Eachdraidh Charlabhagh works with people of all ages to record, interpret and make available the history of the Carloway district. This project will bring together people across generations to discuss and record stories and memories of Gearrannan, at events and interviews. Social events, walks, one-to-one and group interviews, and recorded conversations will all provide opportunities for people to reminisce, discuss, story-tell, sing, or communicate about the past in any way they like. Volunteers who want to be involved will be trained in oral history recording techniques, and using recording equipment, and will have opportunities to be both interviewers and interviewees as they wish. In future, this training will allow us to go on to record and make available more information about other areas in our district as well.

Commenting on the award, Chairman Iain Macarthur said: “It’s fantastic to get this support from the HLF to allow us to learn more about Gearrannan’s past. There isn’t much written history for the area, but people have always worked hard to make a living in the village, and to stay here, and we want to remember that, and make a record of it, that can be shared by future generations.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “Gearrannan Oral History Project is a fine example of HLF’s Sharing Heritage programme that, thanks to National Lottery players, makes it possible for local people to choose what is important to them, what they want to save, and how they want to spread the word throughout their community.”

For regular updates on this exciting project see their Facebook page at

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