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TITLE
Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (29 of 32)
EXTERNAL ID
ARCH_ALASDAIR_CAMERON_03_05
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
DATE OF RECORDING
2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Alasdair Cameron
SOURCE
ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)
ASSET ID
41094
KEYWORDS
audios
farmers
farming
agriculture
built environment
villages
dwellings
houses
farms
mills

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In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about mill sites at Cromarty, St Martins and Poyntzfield.

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: I'm not entirely sure that, of what was what in Cromarty, but it doesn't fit into the normal pattern but there were certainly mills in the vicinity. Best known, and within living memory, is Shore Mill which happens to be by the shore and was conveniently placed, if it had happened, because the Cromarty to Conon railway would've passed by the doorstep and there's actually bits of the track-bed visible on either side of Shore Mill today. The next one there is Gordons Mills which had a chequered history of various products that it attempted to handle. The full history is well recorded in Jim McKay's recent book on the history of the Resolis Parish.

We're looking at St Martins. St Martins Mill served that community although there's not what we would consider a, a village development there but I think there would've been a much more concentrated settlement there in the past. And we're looking at Culbokie which was quite a hub of activity, still is but for different reasons, but it was nominated as a market town, and the travelling fairs liked to come there and it's got lots of water power and everything you needed for a settlement. Alcaig is another village that had everything going for it, but some of the pubs were deemed to be not quite legal in modern thinking, but nevertheless that a drink was available if you knew who to ask, and it also was on the line of communications from Kessock Ferry to Alcaig Ferry so that confirmed its establishment as a village. And then the next one is really on to the Conon Estate which probably had quite a significant settlement at one stage and had all the features you would wish for a settlement there.

Right, I've overshot slightly. Quite an important mill site known as Poyntzfield Mills which uses the same water twice. There's two mills, one above the other in close proximity. There were two waterwheels and the same water generated power twice there. There was a bit of a problem with the access roads when the mills were in operation because the mill lade travelled above the road at a fairly low level, so only a horse and cart could get underneath it so, as soon as the mill ceased to be used, to be in use, the mill lade was rapidly demolished. Speculation on one of the mills; it's got a stone cross on the top. One local theory is that it was also used as the local church at one time but, that's just one of the theories. Again, different roads have different importances and that, if you look at the different roads that come into Poyntzfield House, sometimes it looks like it's back to front but it may be that there was a more important road came from the other side, and changes of priorities and importance on the different routes over the ages.

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Black Isle Heritage Memories - Alasdair Cameron (29 of 32)

ROSS

2010s

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

ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)

ARCH: Black Isle Heritage Memories

In this audio extract, Black Isle farmer Alasdair Cameron talks about mill sites at Cromarty, St Martins and Poyntzfield.<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: I'm not entirely sure that, of what was what in Cromarty, but it doesn't fit into the normal pattern but there were certainly mills in the vicinity. Best known, and within living memory, is Shore Mill which happens to be by the shore and was conveniently placed, if it had happened, because the Cromarty to Conon railway would've passed by the doorstep and there's actually bits of the track-bed visible on either side of Shore Mill today. The next one there is Gordons Mills which had a chequered history of various products that it attempted to handle. The full history is well recorded in Jim McKay's recent book on the history of the Resolis Parish.<br /> <br /> We're looking at St Martins. St Martins Mill served that community although there's not what we would consider a, a village development there but I think there would've been a much more concentrated settlement there in the past. And we're looking at Culbokie which was quite a hub of activity, still is but for different reasons, but it was nominated as a market town, and the travelling fairs liked to come there and it's got lots of water power and everything you needed for a settlement. Alcaig is another village that had everything going for it, but some of the pubs were deemed to be not quite legal in modern thinking, but nevertheless that a drink was available if you knew who to ask, and it also was on the line of communications from Kessock Ferry to Alcaig Ferry so that confirmed its establishment as a village. And then the next one is really on to the Conon Estate which probably had quite a significant settlement at one stage and had all the features you would wish for a settlement there.<br /> <br /> Right, I've overshot slightly. Quite an important mill site known as Poyntzfield Mills which uses the same water twice. There's two mills, one above the other in close proximity. There were two waterwheels and the same water generated power twice there. There was a bit of a problem with the access roads when the mills were in operation because the mill lade travelled above the road at a fairly low level, so only a horse and cart could get underneath it so, as soon as the mill ceased to be used, to be in use, the mill lade was rapidly demolished. Speculation on one of the mills; it's got a stone cross on the top. One local theory is that it was also used as the local church at one time but, that's just one of the theories. Again, different roads have different importances and that, if you look at the different roads that come into Poyntzfield House, sometimes it looks like it's back to front but it may be that there was a more important road came from the other side, and changes of priorities and importance on the different routes over the ages.