Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day Seven, 22 April 2013

This is the first day of mostly driving to travel from Inverurie on the east coast all the way over to the western Isle of Skye. Even with the very late arrival of spring this year, and numerous breezy showers today,  through a dust storm near Inverness,  the journey on single track B roads  around lochs, over Applecross pass, the landscape was spectacular.

As I stated on the first day of the blog, for venues we visit on past tours, I refer you to the extensive writing I've included in 2011 and 2012 blogs.  However each tour I include something new that not even I have yet seen,  Knockando Wool mill is a restored district mill.  District mills dotted the landscape before the industrial revolution centralized processing of wool.  They were as common as creameries were to rural North America.  Records date  back to 1784 when  wool was washed and carded at Knockando.   Several families had long history of mill ownership.  Eventually wool was also dyed, spun, and woven into cloth here. 

A trust has owned the mill since 2000.  With the help of many grants and volunteer hours, the mill was completely restored in 2010-2011.  The looms, carding, and spinning equipment were brought in as used equipment in the 1800's.  With final tweaking in process, the trust hopes to be actively creating new woolen products onsite within the year.  Currently they design the products but have them woven at another mill.
Hugh Jones, the present weaver, was running the entire mill himself before the trust was formed. Hugh learned to weave from Duncan Stewart, who came to the mill in 1919. Hughes mechanical knowledge has kept the old machines running and now is the genius behind restoring them. 

The Victorian waterwheel came from another mill in 1860. It stopped working in 1948. The wheel is now restored and will power the mill as soon as the machine restoration is complete.

The old and the new

Knockandoo loom

Spinning mule

Knockandoo District Mill site restored

Nadine , Margaret, driver/guide Karen savor the best dessert in the country, sticky toffee pudding at our lunch break.

Sharolene wearing her new Knockandoo woolen scarf

The afternoon was filled with loch and munroe views like this

The tree quickening with sap just before leaf burst. Vegatation was 3 weeks behind normal spring in Scotland

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