My trip round flour mills ...
Sorry but all the images from this post are lost thanks to a google tripwire - I'll get them back eventually.
My tour round flour mills in late July should have been to four but there were some unexpected problems at Gilchesters in Northumberland so it became three, Little Salkeld in Cumbria, Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire and Bacheldre in Montgomery.
"Just a minute, I'll move the goat." was the greeting I got when I was trying to park at Little Salkeld. I headed in for coffee and bread, four different kinds made on the premises from their own flour, heaven! My first taste of Little Salkeld water mill near Penrith. It is delightful to visit even if you haven't the slightest interest in flour especially if you turn up on a glorious day like I did.
There are two old grinding stones leaning against the mill wall. The Roman stone below is part of a display of grinding stones at Chesters on Hadrian's Wall. Although they are separated by nearly 2000 years not much has changed.
Note that the handle on the modern stones has broken off but the Roman handle is still intact. When I explained to the miller how the roman handle was attached he said "Oh, right. I'll give that a go."
Above is the mill at Little Salkeld, below Bacheldre. Spot the difference : Little Salkeld runs off the overshot wheels "round the back" whereas Bacheldre Mill runs the burr stones and old bolting machines etc off electricity which eventually will be generated most of the time by the overshot wheel "round the back"
This ancient & modern approach could be the way forward for mills nearer home - small site, few staff but high volumes of quality flour.
Matt described a Lamas day harvest where the farmer had cut the first wheat, brought it to the mill where it was ground, then baked, all in the same day, and eaten too I expect.
Shipton Mill has two mills, one old water mill which I didn't visit where they produce stoneground flours, and a modern factory where there was nothing to see. However a baking class given by Clive Mellum who has been baking bread for around 50 years (he started young) was really the highlight of the trip. I was much too busy to take pictures.
A thoroughly enjoyable trip, lots of bread eaten and lots of new ideas to try out. Now next year …..