Mills in Altoaragón - harinero, central eléctrica


Bergua is situated in the Sobrepuerto.
From Fiscal —You'll find Fiscal on the main road between Boltaña and Broto— take the narrow road winding uphill to Bergua. Once there park your vehicle and locate the start of the path towards Escartín and Basarán at the west end of the village. You'll descend into the Barranco Forcos, cross the footbridge, immediately thereafter the second foot­bridge and then turn right. You'll soon recognize the base of the old bridge (pict. 2).

Pictures: 6.XI.2009

(1) Intake zone - footbridge in the back
(2) Base of former bridge

First thing to do when you are there is to scan the riverside for artefacts. Picture 1 is taken from the foot of the former bridge (2) and the zone hidden behind the large pine tree at the right is most interesting. It's the zone were the river was diverted into the canal leading to the mill.
First there is a huge stone (3) with rectangular depressions. It's more or less like a series of steps, but not entirely convincing. I must confess having no idea about its purpose.


The flat rocks next to the water feature several round holes (4). They form two lines and in better times must have hold the supporting poles for a temporary diversion dam. I should have taken measurements but unfortunately forgot.
Notice that our holes are cylindrical. Other sites like Caballera, Javierre de Olsón, Lecina or Puyarruego also feature holes in the rock, but they are often rectangular.
We couldn't recognize the first stretch of the canal. We know however that it ran towards the base of the old bridge (2) and then was tunneled to emerge at the other side (7). From there the canal is easily to follow to the point where it opens in the lake. The embalse is full of trees making it difficult to appreciate its size, but even now it's obvious that the lake is huge and deep (8).

(5, 6) Witness holes of a former dam — details of (4)

(8) Embalse with huge grid

The water was held between earthen walls, going over in neatly stacked stones closer to the mill. The grid at the end (8) is about 1.5m high.
We have found a nice anecdote about this water reservoir. It's part of a larger article published in a regional magazine ():
The original in Spanish English version
... Así es como llegó a Bergua, el 20 de septiembre de 1940: ligero de equipaje, pero con los libros y el bañador, sus compañeros inseparables. Se hospedó en casa Aguau (el molinero), aunque la escuela tenía vivienda, y por tanto el tema del agua iba a ser cotidiano. Enseguida se enteró que el molino tenía una estupenda balsa, que le invitaría a soñar con un buen baño: En cuanto haga bueno, me voy a nadar a la balsa del molino, repetía a menudo.

Pero si eso es imposible, D. Luis, que es muy profunda y se ahogará..., le respondían.

Aquel otoño fue muy lluvioso y tardó en aparecer un día adecuado.

¡Por fin un día soleado! En cuanto salga de clase, a las 12, me voy a nadar a la balsa.

Tanto los mayores como los niños estaban intrigados con las aficiones natatorias de D. Luis, porque en la montaña nadar, era sinónimo de vadear o pasar un río por la zona de agua remansada. No comprendían cómo el Maestro iba a "pasar a nado" la balsa, de más de 3 m. de profundidad... A la hora prevista, cogió el bañador (de peto y tirantes) y marchó camino abajo hacia el molino.

Cuando llegó se encontró con una sorpresa, que recuerda como si fuese ayer: Todos los chicos estaban alrededor de la balsa y varios paisanos de los lugares vecinos que habían acudido a moler.

Estos, seguro que vienen a ver cómo se ahoga el Maestro..., pensó.

Ante semejante expectación, se lanzó al agua, cruzando la balsa en todas direcciones, con la misma soltura que los barbos. Podemos imaginarnos el asombro aquellas personas, que jamás habían visto nadar a nadie de esa forma. Tanto es así que el abuelo del molino le dijo: Hace unos días se me cayó un jadico al agua, igual me lo podría coger Vd.

Ni corto, ni perezoso, buceó hasta el fondo, saliendo enseguida con el jadico en la mano. ...

... And that's how he eventually arrived in Bergua on September 20th 1940. Packed light, but not without his inseparable friends his books and swimsuit. Even though there was housing available at the school, he was lodged in casa Aguau (the miller's house) where water would become the talk of each day. He soon learned that there was a great pond at the mill and he started to long for a nice swim. As soon as the weather permits, I'll go for a dip at the mill, he repeatedly said.

But that is impossible, D. Luis, they replied, it's very deep and you will drown.

It happened to be a very wet autumn and time went by in wait for a suitable day.

Finally came a sunny day and the plan was to go for a swim after school hours at 12 o'clock.

Both adult and child where intrigued by the swim­ming interests of D. Luis. For them to swim actually meant to wade through a river at a fordable spot. They couldn't grasp how the Master would swim across a pond of more than 3m deep. ... At the intended hour he grabbed his swimsuit (with shoulder straps) and walked down to the mill.

The surprise waiting for him is still fresh in his memory. All children were gathered around the pond. They were joined by several people of neigh­boring villages who happened to be at the mill for business.

They are here only to witness how the master manages to drown himself he thought about the latter.

So he jumped into the water amid much interest and casually swam across in every direction. Try to understand the astonishment of these people who had never seen someone swim in this fashion. So much so that the miller addressed him with the words A few days ago I've lost a small hoe into the water. You could perhaps fetch it while you're there?

And helpfull as ever, he dived to the bottom and re-emerged with the hoe. ...

(9) Backwall of the mill
(10) Mill overgrown with Ivy

José María Satué Sanromán —1999— Don Luis Fernández Fuster - De Maestro de Basarán a alto funcionario de Información y Turismo.
Revista Serrablo - Sabiñánigo: Vol 29, N°113

Fernández Fuster was the schoolmaster of Bergua from Sept 1940 until Dec 1941. He wrote books about tourism: e.g. Teoría y Técnica del Turismo and Historia general del turismo de masas.

José María Satué Sanromán —2005— Retorno a Basarán: Don Luis Fernández Fuster.
Revista Serrablo - Sabiñánigo: Vol 35, N°138

Short obituary about Luis Fernández Fuster

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