Mills in Altoaragón - harinero

Ainielle

Ainielle is a village in the Sobrepuerto region. The last occupant left in 1971.
From the main road between Sabiñanigo and Biescas turn of towards Oliván. Take the lower branch of the road at the entrance Oliván and follow the narrow road through the village. You'll come out at the other side and eventually reach a barrier where you can drop the car. A nice long walk lies ahead. Cross the barrier and follow the service road. After about an hour and a half you'll reach a bridge. The road, now on the right bank, steepens and after half an hour more you'll find yellow marks indicating the beginning of the path towards Ainielle. Find the church where the old path towards the mill starts. The first metres are a bit overgrown with blackthorn, but then the path becomes clear and easy to follow. The mill is at the bottom of the valley. You won't see it before you are really close. Total distance from Oliván : about 3 hours walk.

All pictures: 05.V.2002 (cold showers of snow up there at 1350m)

 
The mill is a humble construction that could easily be mistaken for a borda. It consists of only one small room with a door and a window. The lintel above the door features a time stamp (1763) and some unclear text alluding to this being a mill. A stone at the left of the entrance announces 1823. The cárcavo is wide open as in Torrolluala which is another one-room mill also equipped with a wooden rodete. The rodete there did collapse, but Ainielle's is well guarded by a grid.
 
Part of the floor is made of old milling stones and next to the door is a seat made from the same material. The wooden pole in front of the guardapolvo, together with the horizontal planks forms a primitive levador, the speed regulator. Notice how the tolva is fitted to the wall. The tolva normally rests directly onto the guardapolvo, is usually not so slender and is placed near the centre of the guardapolvo (compare with Sarsa da Surta - also one room).
 
The cárcavo is spacious and open and houses a wooden rodete of a unique construction. It's probably the last one of this type left. Don't miss the huge levador apparatus. The mill is built at the confluence of two rivulets (Barranco Ainielle and B. Cuello) and receives its water from both. I couldn't find much of a channel from the B. Cuello, but I did trace the shallow supply channel from the B. Ainielle (running below the village) along the terraces towards the capture point.
 
outlet of reservoir with mill in background open canal
Both canals come together in a small reservoir a little above the mill. The water couldn't last long without fresh supply. This mill could only run when there was enough water in the barrancos. Now, this is unique ! An open tube carries the water from the buffer reservoir to the wheel. The tube is made from a hollow tree-trunk patched up with some metal plate. (We've seen other wooden piping in Samper and Villalangua. It is also a typical feature of the gharats in India.)
 
Read more about Ainielle.

El pirineo abandonado
by Enrique Satué Oliván - 1984
Ed. Diputación General de Aragón
ISBN: 84-505-0609-3

Contains a nice schematic of the mill. Talks about life in the village and shows several pictures from the 1950s and 1970s.


Las otras lluvias
Pueblos deshabitados del Alto Aragón
by José Luis Acín Fanlo - 1994
Ed. IberCaja
ISBN: 84-88793-19-7

Spends several pages on Ainielle and its mill.

 
Ainielle - La memoria amarilla
by Enrique Satué Oliván - 2003
Ed. Prames S.A. - Zaragoza
ISBN: 84-8321-154-8
 
Introduction 
Learn about the parts of a mill 
Visit the mills; catalogue 
Read more about mills 
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