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Lecht Mine


I have often passed this site, but given a fine afternoon with the benefit of extra daylight hours earlier this week, I decided to detour and attempt the short walk from the Lecht Mine car park.  The track, however, was impassable, shin-deep in mud and thawing snowdrifts.


"Mining first took place at Lecht in the late eighteenth century, when the York Mining Company established workings here on land forfeited to the government following the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Both ironstone and manganese ore were mined at the site and were transported to Culnakyle, near Nethybridge, for smelting.

The most prominent feature of the mining landscape at Lecht is a two-storeyed, rubble-built building with a large arched doorway, which was restored and re-roofed with local slate in the 1980s. It dates from a second, post-1841 phase of activity at the mine, and probably served as a crushing mill, powered by a water wheel measuring almost 8m in diameter which was set at one of its gable walls. Other remains include a mill lade, dumps of waste material, and mine workings which consist of vertical shafts and adits which have been driven at a shallow angle into the hillside.

When production reached its peak during the 1840s, 63 people were employed at the mine. By 1847, however, cheap imports of manganese from Russia made it unprofitable and the mine closed."



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This mine doesn't seem to be in the extensive mine data base of the mining web site I'm a member of. It is now. :)

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This from the Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser - Tuesday 29 November 1881 might be of interest

The First Smelting Works in Scotland. —Rev. Wm. Forsyth, minister of Abernetby, writes as follows under date 22ad November

The opening address to the Scottish Society of Arts by Mr Cadell of Grange, contains the following statement—‘lron smelting began in Scotland in 1760, when the first blast furnace was established at Carron”. There is reason to think that this is a mistake. Mr Cadell seems to be unaware that  ‘the York Buildings Company’ had an establishment for the working of iron in this parish—Abernetby, Inverness-shire—as early as 1730. The ore was carried in creels by ponies from the Lecht mines beyond Tomintonl, distance of nearly miles, and was manufactured in furnaces and mills on the Nethy, a little above the present railway station. The enterprise was more remarkable for boldness than wisdom, and did not prove remunerative. It was abandoned in 1737. The Rev. John Grant, the Old Statistical Account, describes the company as the most profuse and profligate set that were ever heard of in this country. Their extravagances of every kind ruined themselves and corrupted others. Their beginning was great indeed, with 120 working horses, saw mills, iron mills, and every kind of implement and apparatus of the best and most expensive sorts. They used to display their vanity by bonfires, tar barrels, and opening hogsheads brandy to the country people, which five of them died in one night. They had a commissary for visions and forage, handsome salary, and in the end went off in debt to the proprietors and the country. Mr Grant, however, admits that they had done considerable good, by the making of roads, the introduction saw mills, and various improvements agriculture, and the manufacture and transportation timber, and that their short residence had helped forward the civilisation of the district. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder has some interesting notices of this company in his book on ‘The Morayshire Floods’ Few vestiges of their occupation now remain, but the names of three persona connected with the company are still remembered—Aaron Hill, the poet, who designed the large rafts, since used for the transportation of wood from the Abernethy forests to Spey mouth; John Crowley, who fitted up a spring of delicious water near the dwelling-houses of the company. which still exists and bears his name; and Benjamin Land, whoso name is found on some of the cast-iron pillars manufactured by the company, thus— ‘Benj. Lu nd 1730.’ Whatever distinction attaches to the place where the first iron smelting furnaces were used in Scotland seems to belong to the; parish of Abernetby and not to Carron.

Edited by knocker
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