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Garrabost Mill to be restored as historical visitor attraction

Published: 25/01/2023

A project to restore a community-owned 19th century mill in the Isle of Lewis has been awarded funding from HIE.

The Garrabost Mill was built in 1893 and was in the ownership of the Morrison family for more than a century as commercial operation, milling barley and oatmeal for local crofting communities until 1956.

Volunteer committee, The Garrabost Mill Trust will manage the plans for its restoration and reinvention as a historical visitor attraction.

HIE is investing £95,000, which matches £95,000 already pledged by local wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust (PST). 

The trust plans to restore working order of the building as a demonstration mill, creating a social and cultural hub to reflect the crofting heritage of the area and provide a local visitor attraction.

The mill is located five miles from Stornoway and once restored it will offer residents and visitors an insight the building and its role within local crofting history.

Natalie Campbell, head of enterprise support in HIE’s Innse Gall area team, said: “This is a fantastic example of a community-led tourism project with an important crofting and cultural history. Restoration of the mill and outbuildings will transform it into a visitor attraction, which will help create jobs and safeguard a building with historic interest for future generations. We are really pleased to support this project, which will be run by a community where Gaelic is part of the everyday spoken word and we’re looking forward to seeing the project take shape.”

Garrabost Mill Trust  Chair, Brian Chaplin, said: “The mill is an important part of our local heritage. When we conducted our community survey, many residents recounted tales of carrying home-grown barley there for processing into meal and are looking forward to seeing the mill working again. 

“We are keen to engage with the community and encourage people of all ages to join the committee and help us deliver what could be a defining heritage project for Garrabost and the surrounding area. We are incredibly grateful to all our supporters and look to the future of the Mill with optimism.”

PST Community Consultant, Alasdair Nicholson, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to create a new chapter in the history of the mill and be a focal point for the stories around the heritage of the area, including those unique to this part of the crofting community. Initially the HIE and PST funding will cover costs including roof repairs to the mill and replacement roofs on the outbuildings, cleaning of outbuilding walls, restoration of the water wheel, access and improvements to the amenity”.

The project to develop the Garrabost Mill fits with community-led and eco-cultural tourism development, is also another area of community-owned development, adding to a cluster of enterprises in the local area, including Ui Church, Aros An Rubha, and the Point and Sandwick Coastal Trail. A Green Community survey of residents across the villages of the wider Point and Sandwick area indicated 70% support for creating the Mill as a local visitor attraction and it is hoped the development will create many opportunities for the area. All efforts will be made to ensure the Mill is an asset to the local community, including the placement of parking which will be mindful of residents.

Ends

Muileann Gharrabost gu bhith ath-ùrachadh mar ionad-tadhail eachdraidheil

Tha pròiseact gus muileann bhon 19mh linn a th’ anns a’ choimhearsnachd ath-nuadhachadh ann an Eilean Leòdhais air taic fhaighinn bho HIE.

Chaidh Muileann Gharrabost a thogail ann an 1893, agus bha e ag obair gu malairteach gu 1956 a’ muileadh eòrna agus min-coirce airson coimhearsnachd croitearach, agus fo sheilbheadaireachd an teaghlach Moireasdan airson còrr air ceud bliadhna.

Tha comataidh saor-thoileach, Urras Muileann Gharrabost, a-nis ga ruith agus a’ riochdachadh planaichean airson an togalach ath-ùrachadh agus a thionndadh na ionad-tadhail eachdraidheil.

Tha maoineachadh airson an ath-ùrachadh a’ tighinn bho tabhartas ùr de £95,000 bho HIE ague thàining £95,000 mu thràth le carthannas tuathanas-gaoithe ionadail Urras an Rubha agus Shanndabhaig (URS).

Tha Urras Muileann Gharrabost ag amas air an togalach ath-ùrachadh gu staid obrach mar mhuileann-taisbeanadh, a’ cruthachadh ionad sòisealta agus cultarach airson dualchas croitearachd an sgìre agus àite-tadhail a thoirt do luchd-turais.

Dìreach còig mile air falbh bho Steòrnabhagh, bheir am Muileann sealladh iongantach an dà chuid do luchd-tadhail agus luchd-fuirich air an togalach air leth a tha seo agus an t-àite aige ann an eachdraidh croitearachd ionadail.

Thuirt Natalie Caimbeul, ceannard taic Iomairt ann an sgioba Innse Gall HIE: “S e eisimpleir iongantach a tha seo de phròiseact turasachd air a stiùireadh leis a’ choimhearsnachd, le eachdraidh chultarach agus chroitearachd cudromach. Nuair a thèid am muileann agus na frith-thogalaichean an ath-ùrachadh, bidh iad air an tionndadh nan ionad-tadhail, a chruthaicheas obraichean agus a chumas an togalach eachdraidheil seo sàbhailte airson ginealaichean ri teachd.

"Tha sinn cho toilichte taic a thoirt don phròiseact seo, a thèid a ruith le coimhearsnachd far a bheil Gàidhlig air a bruidhinn gu làitheil, agus tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ris a’ phròiseact fhaicinn a’ tighinn ri chèile.”

Thuirt Cathraiche Urras Muileann Gharrabost, Brian Chaplin: “Tha am Muileann na phàirt chudromach de ar dualchas ionadail. Nuair a rinn sinn suirbhidh coimhearsnachd, dh’innis iomadach neach-fuirich dhuinn sgeulachdan mu dheidhinn a bhith a’ giùlain eòrna a dh’fhàs iad fhèin chun a’ Mhuileann airson a thionndadh na mhin-èorna, agus tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ris a’ Mhuileann fhaicinn ag obair a-rithist. ’S e a’ phrìomh-amas againn an togalach a ghlèidheadh, agus tha sgrùdaidhean teicniceach a’ sealltainn gu bheil a’ chuid as motha dheth ann an staid mhath, le feum air beagan càradh air a’ mhullach agus dèiligeadh le mial-fhiodha.

"Anns an dara àite, tha sinn gu math deònach a bhith an sàs leis a’ choimhearsnachd agus daoine de gach aois a bhrosnachadh gu bhith ag obair leis a’ chomataidh agus sinn a chuideachadh a’ lìbhrigeadh pròiseact-dualchas deimhinnte airson Garrabost agus an sgìre mu chuairt. Tha sinne mar chomataidh cho taingeil sa ghabhas gu ar luchd-taic air fad, agus tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ris an àm ri teachd airson a’ Mhuileann.”

Sgrìobh Comhairliche Coimhearsnachd URS, Alasdair MacNeacail, an sgrùdadh air so-dhèantachd ath-ùrachadh a’ Mhuileann, agus tha e air a bhith gu mòr an sàs ann a bhith a’ lorg maoineachadh air leth Urras Muileann Gharrabost. Thuirt e: ’S e cothrom iongantach a tha seo caibideil ùr a chruthachadh ann an eachdraidh a’ Mhuileann, agus a bhith na phuing-fòcas airson sgeulachdan mu dhualchas na sgìre, gu h-àraidh iadsan nach eil ri lorg ach anns a’ choimhearsnachd seo. An toiseach thèid am maoineachadh bho HIE agus URS a chleachdadh airson càradh mullach a’ mhuileann agus mullaich ùra a chuir air na frith-thogalaichean, an cuibhle-uisge ath-ùrachadh, inntrigidh agus leasachadh-ghoireasan.”

Tha am pròiseact airson Muileann Gharrabost a leasachadh a’ freagairt le leasachadh turasachd eag-eòlach is cultarach air a stiùireadh leis a’ choimhearsnachd, agus tha e na phìos eile de leasachadh coimhearsnachd am measg grunnan iomairt ionadail, mar eisimpleir Eaglais na h-Aoidhe, Àros An Rubha, agus Slighe-Costa an Rubha agus Shanndabhaig. Sheall suirbhidh Coimhearsnachd Uaine de luchd-fuirich ann am bailtean sgìre an Rubha agus Shanndabhaig gu bheil 70% airson gum bi am Muileann a thionndadh na ionad-tadhail agus thathar an dòchas gun cruthaich seo iomadach cothrom airson an sgìre. Thèid a h-uile oidhirp a dhèanamh airson gum bi am Muileann luachmhor don choimhearsnachd, a’ gabhail a-steach àiteachan-parcaidh a bhios freagarrach do luchd-fuirich.