Mill demonstrations set to resume after key restoration work

​The NTS hopes that milling demonstrations will resume at the mill this summer.​The NTS hopes that milling demonstrations will resume at the mill this summer.
​The NTS hopes that milling demonstrations will resume at the mill this summer.
Milling operations at one of Scotland’s last water-powered mill are set to be reintroduced following a programme of conservation work.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has made a big leap forward in its project to get Barry Mill, near Carnoustie, operational again.

Working with mill specialists Dorothea Restorations, the charity has successfully replaced the original axle shaft in the historic waterwheel, installing a new 11-foot cast-iron shaft manufactured by the contractors to the original design.

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With the axle shaft fixed in place and other work completed on the wheel’s steel arms and braces, the structure is now turning smoothly again.

The complex task is a key stage in the Trust’s project to repair Barry Mill, where it hopes to introduce regular milling demonstrations this summer and ensure its continued operations.

The current mill building dates to 1814, after the previous mill was destroyed in a serious fire, and milling has taken place on the site since at least 1539.

The next steps include repairs to the millstones inside the mill and realigning of the internal machinery to help it run more efficiently.

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A local joiner is making replacement timber buckets for the waterwheel, and there will be restoration work on the sluice gates along the mill lade (the channel which takes water to the mill) and mill pond.

The project has been supported by a donor from Fife who visited in 2023 and was highly impressed by the restoration work already carried out and the knowledge and enthusiasm of the team there.

He made a donation to facilitate major repair work to the waterwheel, and subsequently made a further donation of £2.4m to the NTS which is being used to support the charity’s activities, especially in Fife, Angus, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire.

Mike Metcalfe, NTS services supervisor, said: “Barry Mill is perhaps now the only working example of a water-powered mill left in Scotland, and it’s wonderful that we are restoring and maintaining this wonderful and now-rare example of engineering heritage for future generations .”