This evening, I am providing two examples of ancient and eco-friendly technologies for milling grain, mainly barley.

Both can be found on Scottish islands, namely Isle of Lewis (west) and Orkney (north).

Dounby Click Mill, Orkney.

This type of horizontal water powered mill has a long lineage, dating back to Viking times.  This particular mill was built in 1823 and remained in use until the 1880s. Now restored under custodianship of Government agency, Historic Scotland.

Dounby Click Mill, Orkney, Scotland.

This is the only mill on Orkney to retain all its internal machinery, including:

  • Horizontal paddle wheel, with an unusual design of two rows of six blades
  • Grind-stones
  • Cowling
  • Hopper
  • Meal bin..

Hopper and Millstone at Dounby click Mill, Orkney.

Norse Mill Kiln on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

Although labelled ‘Norse’ this type of mill was in use until the 1930s, possibly over a period of 2000 years. The Norwegians (Vikings) were in control for a relatively short period, from the 9th to 13th centuries.

Norse Mill and Kiln, Lewis, Scotland.(Mill on left, kiln on right.)

In essence this type of mill is  a very cheap and ‘eco-friendly’ means of converting grain into flour. Power was provided via a mill race (diverted stream) which emanated from nearby Loch Roinavat. This channel can be viewed in the video clip below.

Grain was delivered to the mill and then kiln dried to the required moisture level before being transferred to the adjacent mill for grinding into flour.

This mill was certainly not unique, but typical of hundreds of such historic  milling operations on the islands.

This site is located near Shawbost off the A858 and entails a walk of about one-third of a mile to access. It is open 24/7.

Here is the grain hopper in the mill.

Grain Hopper at Norse Mill, Lewis, Scotland.

Be Sociable, Share!