Mills in Alto Aragón — harinero, central eléctrica


Arrés is easily reached from Jaca. Take the main road to Pamplona. After about 20 km where the road bends right over the bridge (Puente La Reina de Sta Cilia de Jaca), don't turn but continue straight-on towards Huesca. Almost immediately there-after Arrés is signposted. Follow the narrow road for about 3 kms until you notice a patch of trees not too far away to the right. It's before you'll reach the farm houses and the bend towards the village. The mill is in fact two : a harinero, muy ruinoso, and a powerstation with lots of interesting stuff. The mill gets water from the Río Aragón.

Pictures: 17.VIII.2003

(2) The powerstation with overgrown embalse

(3) Supply channel leading to the mill
Pallaruelo, in his must-read book Los Molinos, gives a picture of this mill's façade about ten years before our visit. Today the roof is collapsed and the mill is hidden behind a thick green wall that is almost impenetrable. We had to work (and work it was) our way through the dense reedbeds into the drain-channel, then wade towards the mill and finally slip through a window. Better bring a spare set of clothing if you plan to do the same.

This must have been a most interesting mill. It's crying to miller's heaven that this site is left to fall apart.

The watersupply channel can carry quite some water. At least the stretch between the tap at the Río Aragón and the mill is very well maintained because it's the artery of the local irrigation system. The canal longs the road and then turns away (pict. 4) to the mill situated a bit lower and closer to the river. While the section next to the road is rather shallow, the last stretch (pict. 3) has much higher walls built with stones to compensate for the slope.
The embalse hosts a lush vegetation. A valve (pict. 5) shunts the water away through one of the cárcavo's (pict. 6). Normally the back wall of a cárcavo is blind with one ore two nozzles (botanas), but here the back wall of the cárcavo of the corn mill is half open making it possible to drain superfluous water without dedicated extra channels.

(4) The canal - mill in the back
(5) Escape valve
(6) Cárcavo

The cárcavos are one of the most rewarding parts of this mill. They are deep and run below the whole length of the construction. Both open with a nice arch. The cárcavo of the powerstation features a second internal and lower arch.
Both cavities appear to be still solid, but the first cracks and loose stones are starting to appear.
Notice that the botana is a modern make built with an iron tube (pict. 8) - older botanas are generally made of wood.

(7) Cárcavos : harinero (l), powerengine (r)
(8) Cárcavo of the flour mill

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