History of the Farm

The Farmhouse is one of the most historically important buildings in the area, records in fact indicate that it was occupied as early as 1716.

Over the years it has played a vital role in the life of Calanais providing a focal point for the community and a gathering place for important meetings almost up to the present day.

Callanish Farmhouse circa 1935Because of its prominent position it was for man years used as an Inn. The first record of the Farmhouse being used for this purpose was in 1861 when it was reported by a visitor ‘it was a queer place, the dirtiest little den it was ever my misfortune to locate’.

(I assure you things have changed in the last 150 years). Despite this early criticism I am sure the ‘Callanish Inn’ would have provided a very welcome resting place for travelers over the years.

The adjacent pier was the starting point for the ferry used to transport passengers, goods and mails to and from the many villages along the shores and islands of Loch Roag.

Although the present pier was built in 1902 again records show that a regular service was in operation in 1880, with probably a less regular service well before that date. Sadly the ferry ceased to operate between the wars.

In 1883 the outbuildings began a new role when the Post Office was transfered from Garynahine to Callanish. In these days communications with other island communities and to the mainland was very difficult. The telegraph was the only means of communication. Telegrams, were received and distributed via Callanish Post Office, sometimes there would be good news including money orders from family living away, but at other times very sad news during times of war.

Later when the telephone arrived the exchange was sited at Callanish, another vital role.

In the early eighties the Farm including the Farmhouse was purchased by Edinburgh University and developed as an Archaeological Research Centre.

Archaeologists from the Centre undertook excavation of the land adjacent to the Standing Stones and the surrounding district. Much of the information gained is included in the interpretation section of the adjacent Visitors Centre.

However in 2007 the University decided to discontinue the Research Centre and kindly gifted the Farmhouse, outbuildings and adjacent land to the Callanish Community. The land is administered by a locally based Trust, Tac Chalanais. (Callanish Farm) and the Farmhouse and outbuildings by Urras Nan Tursachan (Standing Stones Trust) who also administer the Visitor Centre.

Throughout 2008 an extensive refurbishment of the Farmhouse was carried out with modern amenities provided to a very high standard. Great care was however taken to ensure that the external appearance and character of this unique and historic building was maintained.