Water Power in
types of mill have been powered by water in Birse: meal
mills, threshing mills and wood mills. The only mills
still in active operation are the three wood-working
mills in Finzean: the Sawmill, the Turning Mill and the
Water power has been used at
five sites on the Feugh to generate electricity with the most
extensive scheme being associated with Birse Castle. Other
sites included the Bucket Mill, Sawmill, Eleanor Cottage and
the Mill of Clinter. Electricity is still generated at the
Sawmill to provide lighting in the Turning Mill.
Water power has also been used
locally to pump water. A hydraulic ram in the Feugh at Ennochie
moved water up to the farm, but it was abandoned c.1965 as it
was no longer sufficient to cope with the needs of increased
cattle numbers. The Turning Mill wheel drives a hydraulic ram
that used to pump water across to the kiln room boiler until a
few years ago.
In total there have been over
40 water wheels in Birse, the great majority of them working at
the same time. Twenty two of them were sited on the three miles
of the Feugh and its tributaries within Finzean.
(For further information, see
Birse" by Robin Callander, published by BCT).
At a wider level, Birse parish
and the communities within it are themselves largely defined by
rivers and burns. Over 90% of the parish’s boundaries
are a river or burn or else the catchment boundary of one,
while the communities of Finzean, Ballogie and Birse very
largely coincide with the catchments of the Water of Feugh,
Burn of Cattie and Burn of Birse respectively.
This link between these
communities and rivers and burns was reflected in the
Dedication of the Birse Millennium Stone at Corsedardar
on 1st January 2000, when the chairmen of each of the three
community associations brought water from their respective
rivers for use in anointing the Stone.
© Birse Community Trust 2015. All rights reserved.