Mills in Altoaragón - harinero

Las Bellostas

Las Bellostas is not anywhere near any mayor road. It is probably best to start from Boltaña and take the road towards Lanave and the Puerto de Serrablo (A-1604). After 11 km on this narrow and winding road there is a branch to the left towards Las Bellostas and Paúles de Sarsa. It is before the highest point of the Puerto at km-39. Follow this narrow road until you reach the village. At the entrance of the village turn right and once more right and you should reach the end of the metalled road in the lowest part of the village. Find the markers of the GR-1 and follow the trail to the West. The trail will cross a gravel road and from then on you should follow the road going down into the valley of the Río Balces (or Isuala) where the mill is. It is a walk of about half an hour from the village.

Pallaruelo, in his book Los Molinos del Altoaragón (1994), has dedicated several pages to this striking construction and its waterworks.

Pictures: V.1995, 21.VII.2015, 4.X.2016

(1) The site in May 1995.

It was much more difficult in 2016 to get a good over­view of the construction than in 1995 when the mill was still largely free of vegetation. Trees and thornbush have grown out wildly during the 20 years between our visits: the mill is almost hidden from view from the South (1) and the short path to entrance is almost entirely blocked by unfriendly rosebush.
One of the stones at the left side of the entrance (2) is engraved with a year: 1627 (or is it 1667?). It is temp­ting to read this as the year in which the mill was built. Pallaruelo however finds this improbable on the grounds that the style of construction is enti­rely different from other mills of the 17th century. He thinks the mill is much older as you have to look at medieval, islamic or even Roman times in Spain to find stylistic similarities.

(2) The entrance is still free from vegetation — 1995.

The mill is built unusually high (1) above the river bed. This is probably to stay clear from flash floods which occur rather often in this region.
A short stretch of an old path bordered with a low stone wall leads to the entrance — it can be seen in (1, bottom left).

(3) Doorjamb right
(4) Doorjamb left
(5) Runner stone

Like in several other mills (e.g. Abellada, Forada­da de Toscar, Solanilla) the entrance is protected with several crucifix and calvary signs on both door jambs. A small human face can be seen on the left door jamb (4). No en­graved signs were found on the lintel.
One single room (6) housed two pairs of stones resting on an earthen bank. One pair has disap­peared. The runner stone of the remaining pair carries a simple cross (5), a feature only occasio­nally found in mills with old monoliths present (e.g. Torrolluala, Solanilla).

(6) The workplace with one pair of stones.

(7) The wall facing the river (West) — 2015.

The two cárcavos are both empty. The pressure pipe in the right cárcavo is open. The other one (9) is filled up with stones; that was probably done at the same time when the second pair of stones was removed.
The cárcavos are long and narrow and there is a thick layer of silt. The roof (8, 9) is a vault made of irregular and smallish stones. The mouth (7, 8, 10) is most peculiar and unique: it is not an arch! The configuration (7) reminds me of old Roman and Greek temples with columns and architraves.

(8) Inside the cárcavo visible right in 7.

(9) Deep end of the cárcavo left.
(10) Roof plate of the cárcavo right.

(11) The mill with the pressure pit (high section left) seen from the North — 2015.

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