Mills in Alto Aragón — harinero, aceitero


This mill is situated between Torres del Obispo and Aler and is in fact built closer to the former but still inside the latters territory. Torres del Obispo is perhaps not that easy to find because it's not on the regular tourist track. From Graus take the main road to the south and after a while turn left for Benabarre. You'll soon reach Torres del Obispo. Take left at the branch leading to the village center. Keep to this road and you'll soon leave TdO at the east side. This is the old road for Aler and Tremp. After less than 2 km there are some sharp bends where the road crosses the Barranco de Gasíño. A sand path will lead you down into the valley and to the molino.
The mill got water from the Bco de Gasíño.

Pictures: 20.viii.2006; Map: Inst. Geográfico y Catastral, 1952

(1) Wheat mill (white arrow) and Oil mill.
(2) The mill of Aler (right) and Torres del Obispo.

Following our directions to reach the mill and about half a km earlier than the Barranco you'll come across a sandroad branching to the right and into the valley (see map). It's named Camino Viejo del Molino or Old road towards the mill.
It's a valid — though more difficult — alternative to visit the mill and be rewarded with the sight shown in pict. 1 which gives a good view on the different levels in the construction.

(3) Press room.
(4) One of the main beams.

(5) The old way of connecting things.
(6) White-tiled oil vessel.

The oil mill had two main rooms. The biggest space (3) housed the press from which only two of the main beams survive (4, 5). The oil was collected in containers (foreground of 3) lined with white (6) and red tiles of the same kind as in many other mills.
Just around the corner at the end of the wall shown in pict. 3 is a separate space where the crushing unit is situated (7). The walls are lined with small compartments where the olives were kept (see also Trillo).

(7) Room with crushing unit.
(8) Crushing unit.
(9) Slit for the valve.

The crushing apparatus takes the rest of the space (8). Only a narrow passageway is kept free — reluctantly because it's where a spare stone (11) was tucked away. It leads to an adjacent room which could have been an engine room. In my opinion, at least at the end the machinery was driven by diesel-, not waterpower. Erosion marks on the walls let's suppose that in the early days muscle power (people or animal) was used.
The balsa of the crusher is made from concrete. The walls are rather high which is often the case where the process was motorized (see f.e. Palo), even when no concrete was used (Sieste). Part of the rim is open and provided with slits (9). The opening is wide enough (8) to let the stone pass thus making the replacement easier.

(10) Cogwheel of olive crusher.
(11) A spare crushing stone.

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