“ Address: Barry / Carnoustie / DD7 7RJ / Agnus / Scotland „
Barry Mill was recently one of eleven National Trust for Scotland Properties earmarked for closure as a cost cutting exercise. It was touch and go, but thanks to generous funding from Angus Council and the Gibson Graham Charitable Trust the mill will now remain open for the foreseeable future.
Being members of the National Trust for Scotland we have, over the years, visited many of their properties, but it always seems to be the ones closer to home that we tend to forget about. At the earlier part of the school holidays my daughter and I were looking for something to do, preferable quite close to home and also something that didn't involve too much money. As I had only visited the mill once before and Erin had never visited, we decided to make a day of it.
Barry Mill is situated just North of the village of Barry between the A92 and A930. We found it quite easily and it was well signposted, although there didn't appear to be any signposts for the mill on the A92, main Dundee to Arbroath road, which is possibly something the Trust should think is easily reached by car and there are buses available from Dundee, Carnoustie and Arbroath to the village of Barry, which is ½ mile from the Mill.
Barry Mill cannot be seen from the road. There is a large car park in front of the Mill, which is basically part of a grassy field, the grass was short and well kept. To reach the Mill, which is approximately 50m away you must either go down steps or a long ramp. It is possible for disabled people to park closer to the mill but prior arrangements must be made.
The first building you will come to is the reception area and toilet facilities. The reception is quite small, there is no shop, although there is a small selection of book s about milling over the years available and a few leaflets to browse through. The toilet facilities are clean and well laid out with disabled access and baby changing facilities.
Barry Mill is a very beautiful, well preserved stone built building in a picturesque setting surrounded by trees, flowers and many different types of plants, with the Barry burn and the mill lade running peacefully by. It was rebuilt in 1814 following a fire and was extended in the 1930s. You can either choose to wander around the mill by yourself or alternatively you can take a guided tour. When Erin and I arrived there was another couple arriving at the same time and the guide offered to take the 4 of us around on a guided tour, which we all agreed to.
The first part of the tour took us to a large room within the mill where there were boards explaining the working of the watermill and the hard times the farmers and their wives had many years ago having to carry many huge sacks of grain to the miller, and how the miller would keep some grain as payment for his work. It was all very interesting and easy to understand and with the guide explaining things very clearly as well it almost felt like we had gone back in time.
On the second part of the tour we were shown how the water wheel actually worked. A small bypass door, holding back the water was opened allowing the water to run through freely and slowly the wheel began to turn until eventually is picked up quite a good speed. We were then taken upstairs to the top of the mill where the guide explained in great detail the working of the mill. We were shown how the heavy sacks were lifted to the top floor by means of a water-powered sack hoist, this being the youngest piece of equipment in the mill and is dated from 1910! We were also shown how the 2 huge mill stones grind the different grains. We were then taken into the very large drying kiln where the grain would have been dried.
Our complete tour lasted around 1 ½ hours and I can honestly say every minute of it was so interesting. I was immediately impressed when I arrived as the mill was such a beautiful building and it was set in such a picturesque setting. It was also really amazing to see something so old working so remarkably efficiently. Having said that it definitely would not meet today's health and hygiene or safety standards. There were numerous accidents over the years in watermills with people becoming trapped in the workings, obviously there was an emergency door, which could be closed quickly to stop the water turning the wheel but the guide did this and we watched while it took the wheel a whole 2 minutes to stop completely!
I think the fact that the guide was so knowledgeable also made the tour even more pleasurable. He was an older gentleman who was actually English and had only lived in the Angus area for a few years. He had been born and brought up working in a mill and therefore knew first hand about the workings and he put me to shame knowing more about the area I have lived in all my life than I did. No only did he explain the workings of the mill but he also told us quaint little stories of when he was a boy and growing up around the mill.
Once you have finished your tour of the mill you are then at leisure to take a stroll by the burn or the lade (a canal build to direct the water to the waterwheel) and there are plenty areas for picnics, in fact you could probably spend the whole day there.
Barry Mill is thought to be one of the last 3 working watermills in Scotland.
Although there is disabled access, the upper floors of the mill are only accessible by stairs and therefore not suitable for wheelchair users, but the rest of the areas are and the paths along the side of the burn are all grass paths.
A beautiful and very interesting place to visit if you are ever in the area.
1 Parent £10
April - 31st October, Thursday - Monday 12.00 - 5.00pm, Sunday 1.00pm - 5.00pm, although the grounds are open all year rounds for walks.
For more information you can visit the National Trust for Scotland website at www.nts.org.uk
National Trust for Scotland preserving a piece of industrial heritage. A working example of a traditional water-powered oatmeal mill.