Thursday, December 25, 2014

Slaterich Mill - Kerrera

Kerrera's Slaterich Mill was in service for just over a century (1732 to 1843). I learned about the mill in 1994 when I first read the book Island of Kerrera: Mirror of History (1979). But I did not have a chance to see the mill until 2010, when I made the Kerrera North-Ring walk (see book 1, chapter 22).

Slatrich lies on the west side of Kerrera, directly opposite the island from the ferry landing. It was a bright spring afternoon when I made the walk, and playful lambs greeted me as I climbed up to the old church/school (1872).

The old Kerrera Church/School
A half-mile from the ferry the track splits. A left turn leads to the South-Ring walk (Gylen Castle via Barnabuck). But I stayed to the right for a short distance to another fork in the road. According to the map a left turn would take me to the shore near the mill. But a glance down the road showed I'd be walking right through busy Slaterich farm. I was hesitant to disturb anyone, so I took the track to the right. After a half mile the shore could be seen across a large field.

Slaterich Farm (left) - Lismore Light in the distance
I crossed the field, climbing a few fences in the process, and made my way to the shore to find the mill standing just above the beach.

Slaterich Mill
The mill-stream still flows past the mill to the sea, but the millstones were taken away in the 1960s. The stream flows from Loch na Circe, the loch of the water lilies, which lies up in the hills a mile to the south.
The mill-stream
The mill and Creag nam Fitheach (Raven's Crag)
Opening in the mill wall for the water-wheel axle
The tenants of Kerrera were required to bring their grain to the mill, and one in 17 pecks of grain was given to the miller. For more details on the history of the mill, see chapter 8 of Island of Kerrera: Mirror of History. The mill ground its last grain in 1853, from then on all Kerrera grain had to be sent to the mainland.

From the mill I followed the coast north to the Shepherd's Hat (see last photo). My next stop was the cashel (ancient monastic enclosure) at Cladh a' Bhearnaig. A great place for information on Kerrera is the Kerrera Development website.

Mill in forground - left of centre is Eilean nam Gamhna (Isle of the Stirk) - AKA 'The Shepherd's Hat'

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