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Braco 200: The deserted sawmill


This will be one of a series of posts this year that I will be writing for the history of my village which was founded 200 years ago this year. And I know it's not a great idea for child bloggers to list the place where they live, but it's been mentioned in pretty much every newspaper article about me ever, so it's no great secret.

In my village there is a great walk along farm tracks through one of the big estates near my village. I walk there most days, often first thing in the morning before school or last thing at night to see animals like roe deer, red kite and salmon. Although a lot of people in the village use that walk, only a few know that just a few metres from the track is an amazing old building hidden from view.

Water mills were quite common in the area about 150 years ago, and the force of the water was use to drive something, like a mechanical wood saw or a grain grinder. This building is mostly destroyed, with no roof left, but the huge water wheel remains, half visible. Here is what I found.

According to RCAHMS , the water wheel was six metres in diameter, but to me it looked smaller than that, maybe about 4 metres. The wooden panels the the water pushes round on the mill were really weak and many were gone. but the metal parts seemed in good condition. Half of the mill was above ground, and the other half was dug below ground ( the mill is on a slope, so the bottom of the mill is the same level as the small building that was next to it. )

This part on the wheel looked like it had been repaired at a later date when the old part rusted and would have strengthened it

Next to the wheel were two smaller cogs. The bigger was fastened directly on the waterwheel, and it drove the smaller one. If a big cog spins a small cog round, then the small cog goes faster, meaning  the saw would be quite fast.

This water wheel would have been an overshot water wheel, meaning that the water would have been above the wheel, pushing it around. Next to the two big wheels, was a small wheel that was in the building next to it. Unlike the other cogs, this one had a smooth surface for a belt to fit round, which would be easy to repair and which would smooth out. Just underneath that was a small geocache box. Geocache boxes are hidden in different places in Scotland and you are supposed to find them and write your name in the notebook in the box. 

Just below the third small wheels was a very light engraving in the cement. It looks like it says 1864, which would mean this it would be around 151 years old and made 49 years after my village, but it could easily also be 1964.

Most of the wall was made of stone, but there was some parts of it that were made of bricks. These bits could have been added on later when a bit of the wall fell down. There could have also been a door or window there that was taken out at a later date, and filled in with bricks.

Two of the four walls were gone, the two walls left are the one next to the mill and the south-east wall.  There was no roof either. The small building used to have two rooms, one stone, one wood ( it would have been used for storage ) and it had a slate roof. The roof and walls were still there in the 1970s.

There was this unusual groove in the ground that runs from the mill to the other end of the small building. I'm not sure what this was for. It could of been used to let water flow or machinery could of been placed there.

There was a weird pole sticking up from the ground, in the small building, near the mill. It had a small cog.   This was obviously a part of the machinery, but I'm not sure what this would of been used for.

This would have been the entrance to the sone building. It would have been really spaced out. There is nothing left of the wooden expansion that was added on.

This was the view from the other side. You could see when the bottom the the water wheel would have been. When my dad stood next to the wall, he was about half way up it, and he is almost two metres tall.

Finding this mill was really cool and makes me wonder what other great pieces of history are hidden around this estate !

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Just a long time fan of yours said...

Hi Jake,
Maybe you've already solved the problem and no longer need this information, but I recently discovered a new method for cleaning small skeletons WITHOUT dissolving the ligamentary joints. I found it on The Bone Man website (highly recommended), and immediately thought about this frog, hope it helps;


I would LOVE to see any updates on how this skeleton is going.

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