Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lecht Mine, Glenlivet

Lecht Mine from the Car Park
Across the Glenlivet Estate there is a range of historic sites and buildings waiting to be explored.  The Crown Estate Glenlivet
featured the Lecht mine in their Winter newsletter reprinted here. The mine is easily reached by a pleasant short walk from the car park on the Lecht road.

The Lecht mine

• Iron ore was first mined at the Lecht in 1730 by York Buildings Company of London. The mine was abandoned in 1737 due to substantial losses.

• The mined ore was transported on horseback across the Avon at the Fordmouth-Lynachork ford, and then over the Dorback Hills to Nethy Bridge. Wood from the Abernethy Forest was used to smelt it down into “Strathdoun (Strathavon) pigs”.

• The mine was re-opened in 1841 by the Duke of Richmond as a manganese mine, local stories tell that the Minister of Corgarff had to lend his bull to help drag the new heavy rollers over the Lecht Pass. However following the importation of manganese ore from Russia, the price fell from £8 per ton to an uneconomical £3 per ton, and the mine was closed for a final time in 1846.

• At the peak of activity over 60 men and boys worked at the mine and it was, and still is, the largest manganese mine ever worked in Scotland.

Lecht Mine building still standing - last used 1846
• In 1863 there was nearly a reprieve for the old mine when samples of iron ore were sent to James Morrison, Manager of the Ferryhill Iron Works, Co Durham, for assessment. He would gladly have taken 50,000 tons per annum, and all that was needed to secure viability for the re-opening of the mine was a railway link to Tomintoul, but in that time of economic retrenchment no-one could be found to back the proposed iron ore railway.

• The foundations of some other buildings can still be seen, but only the mine building has survived as it was very solidly built to carry the water wheel and heavy machinery.

• The mine building was restored and reroofed and interpretation about the mine workings installed in a joint project between The Crown Estate and Moray Council.