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TITLE
Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (27 of 32)
EXTERNAL ID
ARCH_ALASDAIR_CAMERON_03_03
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
DATE OF RECORDING
2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Alasdair Cameron
SOURCE
ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)
ASSET ID
41092
KEYWORDS
audios
farmers
farming
agriculture
built environment
villages
dwellings
houses
farms
settlements

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In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about steam-powered mills and the changing use of farm buildings with the advent of the combine harvester.

The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.

Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)

AC: The other one that I remember is actually visible from where are now at Wellhouse, because just a couple of fields away is Kilcoy Farm, and that Kilcoy Farm had a steam engine but I only remember the brick chimney stack which was demolished, probably early '70s. All that's left of it now is the circular dressed stone that was on the top of it has been retained by one of the Jack family that own the farm, and he's got it in his garden, on the lawn, with roses growing in the middle of it, so it hasn't totally disappeared. I think that's all I can think of on ...

Eh, no, another, another factor that's quite interesting, that I see in farm buildings is the different ages of power and there's one that I remember on the Conon Estate where there was obviously water power at one stage because the characteristic fine ashlar building is on the face of the wall. There's the mill dam and the mill lade, but after that went out of use, the age of the tractor came along and to drive the thrashing mill they had a shaft coming through the wall with a pulley on the outside which was belt-driven by the tractor. Now, they decided at some stage that an oil engine, inside the building would be more appropriate, and all the foundations, and all the stains of the spilled oil is inside the building. Now I'm not entirely sure which came first, the tractor or the oil engine. Fairly close together I suspect. Maybe they had a better tractor than an oil engine, I don't know, but then, all these have been abandoned, and there was a big electric motor installed, which has got some of the line shafting still there today and it was belt, a belt driving the thrashing mill and also the bruiser again. Now, in the age of the combine, most of that equipment would've been removed and the building converted into a grain dryer and grain storage because no longer was the crop stored in the farm, of stacks in the stackyard, that were thrashed throughout the winter period. With the coming of the combine harvester, all the grain comes in at once and you've got to dry it and store it so the pressure on the farm buildings changes totally. So, lots of farm buildings were converted with the coming of the combine, either into grain storage in bulk, grain drying, or a mixture of both. So you see buildings with lots of doors and windows have been blanked off with concrete blocks and the building becomes a bulk store, possibly with underfloor ventilation, or a drying floor underneath, a continuous drier or, simply, low volume ventilation to keep the grain in good condition.

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Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (27 of 32)

ROSS

2010s

audios; farmers; farming; agriculture; built environment; villages; dwellings; houses; farms; settlements;

ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)

ARCH: Black Isle Heritage Memories

In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about steam-powered mills and the changing use of farm buildings with the advent of the combine harvester.<br /> <br /> The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.<br /> <br /> Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)<br /> <br /> AC: The other one that I remember is actually visible from where are now at Wellhouse, because just a couple of fields away is Kilcoy Farm, and that Kilcoy Farm had a steam engine but I only remember the brick chimney stack which was demolished, probably early '70s. All that's left of it now is the circular dressed stone that was on the top of it has been retained by one of the Jack family that own the farm, and he's got it in his garden, on the lawn, with roses growing in the middle of it, so it hasn't totally disappeared. I think that's all I can think of on ...<br /> <br /> Eh, no, another, another factor that's quite interesting, that I see in farm buildings is the different ages of power and there's one that I remember on the Conon Estate where there was obviously water power at one stage because the characteristic fine ashlar building is on the face of the wall. There's the mill dam and the mill lade, but after that went out of use, the age of the tractor came along and to drive the thrashing mill they had a shaft coming through the wall with a pulley on the outside which was belt-driven by the tractor. Now, they decided at some stage that an oil engine, inside the building would be more appropriate, and all the foundations, and all the stains of the spilled oil is inside the building. Now I'm not entirely sure which came first, the tractor or the oil engine. Fairly close together I suspect. Maybe they had a better tractor than an oil engine, I don't know, but then, all these have been abandoned, and there was a big electric motor installed, which has got some of the line shafting still there today and it was belt, a belt driving the thrashing mill and also the bruiser again. Now, in the age of the combine, most of that equipment would've been removed and the building converted into a grain dryer and grain storage because no longer was the crop stored in the farm, of stacks in the stackyard, that were thrashed throughout the winter period. With the coming of the combine harvester, all the grain comes in at once and you've got to dry it and store it so the pressure on the farm buildings changes totally. So, lots of farm buildings were converted with the coming of the combine, either into grain storage in bulk, grain drying, or a mixture of both. So you see buildings with lots of doors and windows have been blanked off with concrete blocks and the building becomes a bulk store, possibly with underfloor ventilation, or a drying floor underneath, a continuous drier or, simply, low volume ventilation to keep the grain in good condition.