Mills in Altoaragón - harinero

Ribera de Vall

Ribera de Vall is a small and remote village in the Ribagorza region. From Pont de Suert drive south on the main road towards Lerida. You'll drive along the lake, pass Sopeira with its Monastery de Alaón and finally find a branch to the right. That's the one you need. —You know you have missed it when you arrive at the next branch leading to Arén.— A narrow road will bring you to Rivera de Vall. The road crosses the riverbed just before a hairpin leading upward to the village. Drop the car and walk in the riverbed against the flow. You'll soon spot the mill.

The mill is on the Barranco de Sobrecastell which flows to the Río Noguera Ribagor­zana which forms the border between the provinces Huesca and Lerida.

Pictures: 24.VII.2008

Barranco de Sobrecastell with mill (left) and Vilaplana on top of the hill.
(1) North facing wall with entrance (2) East facing wall
This mill deserved better. It is a real pitty that the roof collapsed and in the event made the second floor crash also. What peeps out from below the debris tells about a very well equiped workplace.
We recognize a crane to lift the stones, some planks from the sides of the dustcover and parts of an old corn sifting and cleaning machine (3, 4, see also Yésero).
The workplace may then be lost, the mill of Rivera de Vall is still very well worth a visit because of its waterworks which are impressive and interesting.

The mill is built against the lake which is level with the roof (1, 8). The embalse is enormous. You can appreciate its size in 8 which shows the whole site from aside: the white stroke points to the mill and the red one to an adult person.

(3) Crane (grua with cabra); remains of dustcover (4) Fragments of corn sifting machine
(5) Entrance - 1915 (6) Eastern wall with outlet (7) Outlet clear from shrub
(8) Mill with water storage (9) Reservoir with mill at the end
(10) Half open cubo
The pond is made from earthen walls (9) tapering towards the mill where the sides are lined with huge stones (10). The narrowest point is rather special because of the half open cubo. We've found a similar device in Ara and also in the molino de Morana (with explanation of its function).

The water leaves the cubo a couple of meters below the floor of the pond. And this brings us to the inner sanctum of the construction: the cárcavo.

The outlet was hidden behind thorn bush below the eastern wall (6). But we seldom set out without proper tools and before long the opening was freed (7) and we could jump and crawl inside.



(11) Cárcavo
(12) Rear wall of cárcavo with wheel, botana, valve and control rods
The cárcavo is roomy and a well preserved treasure cove (11). Deep inside against the rear wall (12) rests a wheel with wooden blades (14). An equally nice botana protrudes from then wall (13) and is topped with a valve which slides up and down in order to control the flow. Notice the fork (14) holding the control rod for the valve in place. I haven't seen anything similar at any other mill in the region!

Some other mills with wooden wheels: Serrate (axle also in wood); Ainielle; Alins.

(13) Botana with valve (14) Rodete from wood; notice the fork!
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