Mills in Alto Aragón - harinero, central eléctrica


Boltaña is situated on the main road between L'Ainsa and Ordesa National Park at about six kilometers from L'Ainsa. Coming from L'Ainsa you'll find the mill at the left side of the road just past the branch to a campingsite at the outskirts of the village.
The mill receives water from the Río Ara and a small tributary Arroyo de Javierre.

Pictures: 6.XI.1997, 11.IV.2007

(1) November 6th 1997: a raging Río Ara.
(2) Front of the molino.

The mill of Boltaña is a huge building on the left bank of the River Ara. This river is the only one in the region without any dam curbing its freedom. At some days (1) it's easy to understand why a protective wall (3) is essential.
The front wall bears witness to the former activities. Fábrica de harinas (2) means this was a flour production plant. The top part of the façade is seeded with insulators (4) which were necessary to bring the powerlines out through the oval openings in the wall.

(3) Southern face with protective wall.
(4) Insulators on façade.
(5) Back wall.
(6) Rails with insulators.
(7) Wall with switches.

(8) Switch.
At the back of the mill are many more relics of the mill's electric past (5, 6, 7). The wall is covered with rails with insulators. There was also kind of a control room (7) with lots of wiring and switches (8) and weird boxes (9). At some time in history a separate building was constructed next to the mill (visible 2 bottom left, 3 right) and to house still more controls and gauges (10). It doesn't serve any more.

All doors of the mill are meticulously closed and it is therefore difficult to judge the situation inside. I could take a picture through a forgotten slit (12, I'm becoming handy in this respect) and it looks like there's not much left which relates to milling activities. The roof is probably leaky.

The lake (embalse) of the mill was situated at the west side. A small gangway crossing the inlets is running from front to back and gives access to a house — in ruins — leaning against the mill proper. The embalse is destroyed because of a new cabin annex pylon for the modern electricity network. Only some valves and a drain survived.

(10) Separate building with more controls.

(11) The mill had three cárcavos.
(12) Interior at ground floor.

It's clear by the size of the construction that this must have been a mill of some importance. The presence of three cárcavos hints to the same conclusion. This is one of the few mills in this region with more than two cárcavos; most count only one. They open in the east wall (11, 3).
The cárcavos run from west to east below the whole length of the mill (13-16). They did undergo quite some rebuilding (piping, separation walls) and nothing reminescent of wheat milling is present.

(13) Cárcavo closest to the river.
(14) View from the bottom of (13).

(15) Center cárcavo.
(16) Third cárcavo.

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