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IN BIRSE


Water Power in Birse

Several 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 Bucket Mill.

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 "History of 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.