Watermills in Altoaragón - harinero, central eléctrica


Broto is situated near Torla and the Ordesa National Park. You'll find the mill at the northern outskirts next to the village church.
The mill takes water from the Río Ara.

Pictures: 1.III.2007

(1) Broto with its mill (white arrow) - Dec. 1992 (2) Powerstation (left, lower) with harinero
All mills in the valley of the Río Ara have at least one thing in common: there is no pond to store water (See f.e. Fiscal, Guaso, or Jánovas). The Río Ara always carries enough water to keep the stones moving. The frustration of many millers, an unwanted stop and wait for an embalse slowly filling up, was unlikely to happen.
The mills share more characteristics which are typical for this way of working known as moler de fila. Running with the limited supply of the pond was moler de restañada.
In order for the mill to behave controllably a generous and uninterrupted watersupply was needed. The channel therefore is broad and deep and ends in a rather big cubo (see f.e. Lacort). The depth and the size of the cubo is meant to build up pressure and to smoothen out short hiccups in the watersupply.
The slope of the Río Ara being rather small the canal of most mills is necessarily rather long to make for a sufficient water column.
(3) Río Ara with start of channel (4) Channel soon becomes broad and deep
Broto is no exception. About a quarter of the channel is visible on pict. 1. Its position is shown by the tree-line running from the mill to the right.
A trail next to it makes it easy to trace the channel towards the point where the river is tapped. Recently work was carried out, but it's not clear with what purpose exactly; maybe the plan to restore the mill finally will become true.
The first few meters are not very clear: it looks like a tube was installed to replace the original channel. I couldn't trace the tube but it could well be the one emerging near the mill (11).
(5) Trail runs along channel
(6) Last stretch with earthen and stone wall (7) Channel last stretch; notice roof of the mill
After the disturbed stretch the channel soon becomes broad and deep and is easily traced towards the mill (4-7). At the mill the channel widens into a complicated construction of grids and valves and cubos and tubes (8). The latter probably are later additions to cater for the power station. The most prominent devices are the huge lock-gates (8, L & R) each with a nice control wheel (8c & 9) and separated by a wall protruding in the channel. The wooden gates were placed behind a grid (8L & 10) to keep unwanted debris out. Two enormous quadrangular cubos follow. Metallic rungs, cemented into the wall, are leading down into the cubo. I couldn't reach them because of the trees. Perhaps next time with proper tools.
(8) (9)
A bit earlier in the channel, before the grid are tube mouths (8t & 10): probably later additions from when a powerstation was built next to the harinero. At the left side (10) a valve is still present. The situation at the other side is less clear. I couldn't find the start of a second tube inside the channel (8t right), but the wall at that spot is open and at the outside runs a tube (11) to one of the turbines.
(10) (11)
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