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TITLE
Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (28 of 32)
EXTERNAL ID
ARCH_ALASDAIR_CAMERON_03_04
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
DATE OF RECORDING
2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Alasdair Cameron
SOURCE
ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)
ASSET ID
41093
KEYWORDS
audios
farmers
farming
agriculture
built environment
villages
dwellings
houses
farms

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In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about thriving settlements on the Black Isle. He also mentions the salt mills, or tidal mills, at Munlochy Bay.

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)

CM: Alasdair, I wanted to ask you, just to go back to your theory of the success of a settlement, based around this hub of features, this suite of features that include the meal mill, the smithy, and the pub, and I wondered if you could just name some of those places that you've identified.

AC: Right, the easy one is Charleston which is better known today as being, sort of, the suburb of North Kessock and probably, almost the last working meal mill ...

CM: Mmm.

AC: ... in the Black Isle, famous because the agricultural business in Dingwall, agricultural merchants, of Henderson's, they marketed Black Isle Oatmeal throughout the country with a distinctive mill logo, and it was produced at the Charleston Mill. The next one looking north is at Munlochy, and the Munlochy Meal Mill was on the go almost as long as Charleston and that it's got everything with the smiddy and the pub and the meal mill. Sadly they've destroyed their source of power just a few years ago because they filled in the mill dam to provide a car park. So that's disappeared for future power. They may have to rethink that one.

What is interesting in Munlochy Bay, that from a very early period, there's mention of tidal mills, or salt mills as they're referred to, which sometimes causes confusion but it simply meant salt water rather than fresh water and they were noted by Bishop Forbes when he was doing one of his tours of the Black Isle, I think about 1764. They seem to have been in operation up until, I think probably about 1835-36 because there's mention in the lease of the mill. The last miller there was warned that his lease would only last until they built the new road across the bay which I assume is the present road, and there was a lot of road improvements, re-alignments going on at that period, and that once that road was built there was insufficient water flowing out and in with the tide to operate the mill, so end of tidal power in Munlochy, at that period. And I suppose that might indicate when the freshwater, Munlochy Mill, became more important. But the dates are a bit confusing because the habit of re-using stones, carved stones on buildings; there is a stone with a date on the Munlochy Mill but it's not known if it was recycled from another building or not.

The, Avoch would be one of the developments that qualified, and Rosemarkie, more so than Fortrose, because Rosemarkie had two mills; one, the structure is still there, converted into a house, but they had another interesting one down near the beach which was basically a washing machine and I believe that it, the mechanism was actually simply the waterwheel rotated, and it was a drum in itself, and the washing was put inside the waterwheel and tumbled until it was deemed to be suitably clean. Whether they used detergent or not I don't know but apparently they had the contract for doing the washing for their neighbours across the firth at Fort George and that was a family business at one stage.

CM: Do you know, do you have a date for that laundromat? [laughs]

AC: Not exactly, but I think it may be mentioned in Statistical Accounts.

CM: OK.

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Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (28 of 32)

ROSS

2010s

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

ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)

ARCH: Black Isle Heritage Memories

In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about thriving settlements on the Black Isle. He also mentions the salt mills, or tidal mills, at Munlochy Bay.<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 /> CM: Alasdair, I wanted to ask you, just to go back to your theory of the success of a settlement, based around this hub of features, this suite of features that include the meal mill, the smithy, and the pub, and I wondered if you could just name some of those places that you've identified.<br /> <br /> AC: Right, the easy one is Charleston which is better known today as being, sort of, the suburb of North Kessock and probably, almost the last working meal mill ...<br /> <br /> CM: Mmm.<br /> <br /> AC: ... in the Black Isle, famous because the agricultural business in Dingwall, agricultural merchants, of Henderson's, they marketed Black Isle Oatmeal throughout the country with a distinctive mill logo, and it was produced at the Charleston Mill. The next one looking north is at Munlochy, and the Munlochy Meal Mill was on the go almost as long as Charleston and that it's got everything with the smiddy and the pub and the meal mill. Sadly they've destroyed their source of power just a few years ago because they filled in the mill dam to provide a car park. So that's disappeared for future power. They may have to rethink that one.<br /> <br /> What is interesting in Munlochy Bay, that from a very early period, there's mention of tidal mills, or salt mills as they're referred to, which sometimes causes confusion but it simply meant salt water rather than fresh water and they were noted by Bishop Forbes when he was doing one of his tours of the Black Isle, I think about 1764. They seem to have been in operation up until, I think probably about 1835-36 because there's mention in the lease of the mill. The last miller there was warned that his lease would only last until they built the new road across the bay which I assume is the present road, and there was a lot of road improvements, re-alignments going on at that period, and that once that road was built there was insufficient water flowing out and in with the tide to operate the mill, so end of tidal power in Munlochy, at that period. And I suppose that might indicate when the freshwater, Munlochy Mill, became more important. But the dates are a bit confusing because the habit of re-using stones, carved stones on buildings; there is a stone with a date on the Munlochy Mill but it's not known if it was recycled from another building or not.<br /> <br /> The, Avoch would be one of the developments that qualified, and Rosemarkie, more so than Fortrose, because Rosemarkie had two mills; one, the structure is still there, converted into a house, but they had another interesting one down near the beach which was basically a washing machine and I believe that it, the mechanism was actually simply the waterwheel rotated, and it was a drum in itself, and the washing was put inside the waterwheel and tumbled until it was deemed to be suitably clean. Whether they used detergent or not I don't know but apparently they had the contract for doing the washing for their neighbours across the firth at Fort George and that was a family business at one stage.<br /> <br /> CM: Do you know, do you have a date for that laundromat? [laughs]<br /> <br /> AC: Not exactly, but I think it may be mentioned in Statistical Accounts.<br /> <br /> CM: OK.