Crofts

The typical highland dwelling is made entirely from stone, this is shaped and laid, with or without mortar, and is usually two to three feet thick. Often the interior is a foot or so lower than outside and the floor is either stone or compacted clay. Windows and doors are narrow and deep, and the roof is commonly a birch mat over timber frame with a layer of turf or sod covering it. These roofs are often strong enough to support grazing and it is not unusual to see the milk goat or sheep happily cropping the fresh grass growing across it. The fireplace is either built into the wall or missing entirely, a smoke hole with a protective wooden cowl in the roof being just as common. Larger dwellings may include log walls or roofs if there is sufficient forestry nearby, and some crofts have a raised wooden floor a few inches higher than the ground which, like the clay floor is kept polished and clean. These crofts are single story buildings, sometimes with small lofts in the eaves, but tend to be longer and wider than their counterparts in the lower regions. True, some can be single roomed and tiny, but most are constructed to contain several sleeping rooms, a kitchen and living area.

Occasionally livestock are also kept inside, though more generally, the animals live in barn-like extensions that merely share a common wall. Unlike the village structure of the other clans, the highlanders tend to live in a more isolated fashion. Therefore they build their crofts to include defensive walls and supply barns. These are also built out of stone, though accasionally, a highlander living in or close to a heavily forested area may use logs as his main building material. Halls are usually built of stone for the first ten feet in height and are several feet thick, with steeply angled log roofs that may include sleeping or storage lofts. These halls are only built at main crossing points or as defensive structures. Communities within walking distance then share them for the purposes of socialising, discussions, or in times of war. They are more sturdily built than lowland halls, and usually stand up to most forms of attack.

Carving, both of stone and wood, is often elaborate. The interiors of most celtic dwellings have many fine examples of both. Much of this is done after construction of the supports, walls or furniture, the dark winter nights providing ample opportunity for the inhabitants to stamp their own individuality on their property. Suitable subject matter can include celtic knotwork or other geometric designs, symbolic representation of religious figures, stylised depiction of enemies and creatures, and simple animal and plant images. Woven hangings and stains from natural plant sources would complete the overall effect.

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