The Loading Dock
The platform outside the Stone Floor is the headrace loading dock. It was traditionally where farmers came to deliver their harvest of grain to the mill. It used to be covered so grain could be offloaded in all weathers; and you can still see where the roof used to sit, as there is a couple of slots in the stonework of the main building where the roof was butted into the stonework to make a good seal. There is an iron hook and ring wedged into the barn wall nearby which was used to tie the farmers carthorse to while the grain was being offloaded from the dray (a large flatbed cart).
From here the grain would either go straight to the drying kiln, or if it had not been threshed already it could have been taken through this side door into the threshing barn and cart shed, and fed into a fixed barn threshing machine, to separate the grain from the straw. This barn is now the Mill's bakery.
From here you can also get a good view of the headrace as it fetches water down to the mill from the junction of the Troutbeck and Cairnbeck 700ft from the Mill. At this junction is a fish pass built in 2003, to enable migratory fish such as salmon, lamprey, sea trout and brown trout to access spawning and nursery habitats in the upper reaches of the stream.
The headrace is a man-made waterway cut to approximately the same width as the waterwheel. At the mill the water passes underneath the loading dock platform and through wooden valves in a control gate that guides it efficiently into the buckets on the waterwheel. When not powering the mill, the water from the Cairn Beck leaves through an open spill gate. The spill gate can be fully or partially closed to direct water down to the mill when we want to use the wheel, depending on the overall amount of water coming down the beck.
Closing the spill gate creates a standing head of water, which acts a bit like a mill pond and is a store of energy just waiting to be used.
Next, view the Bakery in the old barn by entering through the door from loading dock.