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Mining - 2019-04-28th, Skye, Scotland, UK
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Colinmair

colinmair
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Mining - 2019-04-28th, Skye, Scotland, UK

Trotternish was home to two mining areas - one in Digg, Staffin, and the other at Loch Cuithir in Lealt.

Although little is known of the Digg mine, where production ended sometime after the First World War, it is the history of the Loch Cuithir mine which is of interest.

Work began at Cuithir in 1899 and finally ceased over six decades later in 1960.

Over the years, the mine saw periods of inactivity, but when up and running operations made use of the large industrial works at the area - a large factory building, a railway with embankment cuttings, and a rolling stock traversing three miles of landscape, including an aerial ropeway.

The light railway was used to transport the Loch Cuithir Diatomite to the shores at Invertote for a final drying and grinding, and a large building containing a furnace, grinding machine and storage space was constructed there for this purpose.

Such modernised business works were quite remarkable for this part of the world at the time.

In those days there was no road between Staffin and Portree, so a puffer boat would anchor in the bay at Lealt, and local skiffs were used to transport the finished Diatomite from shore to boat, ready for shipping to the mainland.

There were around 40 to 50 people steadily employed at Lealt, yet on days that the boat came in this total rose to as many as 80 workers.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the mine's history comes from the ownership of the drying factory at Invertote by Germans.

Although closed during the period of the Great War, surprisingly the now enemy forgein residents were allowed to stay on. Shortly afterwards a rumour began to circulate that the area was haunted, and that the ghost of a recent tragic death at the Lealt falls had appeared at the factory.
As the local story goes, (the rumour was actually started by the Germans) with the intent of keeping locals away. It turned out that the resident Germans were spies and that, almost unbelievable to the communitiy, the area was being used as a German base with submarines surfacing in the sea bay!

Moving on, the year 1950 saw the next development in the mining of Diatomite from Loch Cuithir. As the loch was one and a half miles up the moor, through peatbogs and rivers, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (DAFS) decided that a road should be built, with the intention of extracting the Diatomite by digger, and then taking it to the Lealt road end above Invertote.

The road took around a year and a half to build, during which the mine was put out of operation. Yet, when production started again, the new method of extraction did not reach the high standard of quality which was achieved when extracted manually by spades.

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ILCE-6000

E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
Aperture
f/9.0
FocalLength
148
Exposure
1/125
ISO
100
Flash
16
  • Image type: image/jpeg
  • Exposure: 1/125
  • Resolution: 72/1
  • Created: 28th April 2019
  • Uploaded: 23rd May 2019
  • Category: Buildings-architecture
  • Views: 22
  • Likes: 8



  • Peter Millar
    • Seller
    • Pro
    3 weeks ago
    darn it - my screen has cut off your story again!
    • colinmair
      3 weeks ago
      Trotternish was home to two mining areas - one in Digg, Staffin, and the other at Loch Cuithir in Lealt.



      Although little is known of the Digg mine, where production ended sometime after the First World War, it is the history of the Loch Cuithir mine which is of interest.



      Work began at Cuithir in 1899 and finally ceased over six decades later in 1960.



      Over the years, the mine saw periods of inactivity, but when up and running operations made use of the large industrial works at the area - a large factory building, a railway with embankment cuttings, and a rolling stock traversing three miles of landscape, including an aerial ropeway.



      The light railway was used to transport the Loch Cuithir Diatomite to the shores at Invertote for a final drying and grinding, and a large building containing a furnace, grinding machine and storage space was constructed there for this purpose.



      Such modernised business works were quite remarkable for this part of the world at the time.



      In those days there was no road between Staffin and Portree, so a puffer boat would anchor in the bay at Lealt, and local skiffs were used to transport the finished Diatomite from shore to boat, ready for shipping to the mainland.



      There were around 40 to 50 people steadily employed at Lealt, yet on days that the boat came in this total rose to as many as 80 workers.



      Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the mine's history comes from the ownership of the drying factory at Invertote by Germans.



      Although closed during the period of the Great War, surprisingly the now enemy forgein residents were allowed to stay on. Shortly afterwards a rumour began to circulate that the area was haunted, and that the ghost of a recent tragic death at the Lealt falls had appeared at the factory.

      As the local story goes, (the rumour was actually started by the Germans) with the intent of keeping locals away. It turned out that the resident Germans were spies and that, almost unbelievable to the communitiy, the area was being used as a German base with submarines surfacing in the sea bay!



      Moving on, the year 1950 saw the next development in the mining of Diatomite from Loch Cuithir. As the loch was one and a half miles up the moor, through peatbogs and rivers, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (DAFS) decided that a road should be built, with the intention of extracting the Diatomite by digger, and then taking it to the Lealt road end above Invertote.



      The road took around a year and a half to build, during which the mine was put out of operation. Yet, when production started again, the new method of extraction did not reach the high standard of quality which was achieved when extracted manually by spades.