As soon as the crofts were prepared for planting, cattle and other livestock were banished to the moors, but this created another problem - milking cows when they were grazing miles away, and feeding hens and collecting the eggs. Thus the shieling.
Sheilings were small huts, made of stone or sod, with just enough room to sleep and to store milk while the cream rose to the surface, and then to prepare the cream and skimmed milk for butter, cheese, crowdie or whatever. Some shieling maids brought along their spinning wheels, and always their knitting needles.
Once a week or so, the dairy products would be transported to the croft, and the shieling would be prepared for another week of work - and play.
One would be inclined to think that with all the village girls away 'on the shieling', it would be a pretty boring time for the young men, but the ever-resourceful mother nature, as usual, came to the rescue.
The shielings became the center of youthful summer activity and this social phenomenon no longer seems so strange. Occupants of shielings for miles around often got together with the young men of the villages for dancing, ceilidhs, and whatever else.
The Sheiling is a brand new multi-faceted business venture encompassing independent business units, a café, market spaces, performance venue, meeting rooms, events, exhibitions and function areas.
We're attempting to help develop and promote new business on Skye by providing facilities, guidance and 'stepping stones' to encourage fledgling startups.
The Sheiling is a uniquely refurbished old agricultural building, full of character and charm, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that lends itself to the social and entrepreneurial spirit of Skye.
When trying to describe The Sheiling we often use two phrases. "We're open to suggestions" - because we aim to provide what people want, not what we think they need, and therefore "It's a work in progress" - because our building, activities and businesses are constantly changing, adapting and evolving.
If you think you know The Sheiling - you should see it now.