|Dingwall Town House incorporating old Tolbooth tower|
Ben Wyvis mountain is again mentioned, this time with an appreciation for its place in the landscape and its local history. Barnard has it at 3,722 feet high but it is now registered as 3,432 feet (1,046 metres) and regardless is a dominant land feature for many miles, from south and east of Inverness right round this stretch of the east coast up to the Dornoch Firth and beyond.
|Ben Wyvis viewed from Culloden Moor, east of Inverness|
|Ben Wyvis etching in Barnard|
|Ben Wyvis 'Old Distillery', now apartments, warehouse in middle ground|
The distillery was a substantial operation producing 727,000 litres p.a. and the water requirements were met by a 3 1/2 mile conduit from Loch Ussie to the west of Dingwall. The barley was carted up the terraces from the barns by the railway and then raised to the grain loft at the highest point by elevator and an endless belt.
Barnard offers a fair bit of detail about the malting and milling processes although nothing particularly unusual to note. He doesn’t mention the heat source for the kiln stating only that “by a simple arrangement of air passages the supply of hot air to the malt is under complete control”. I imagine that it was peat that was burned in common with the availability in this area and its use across Scotland at that time, although a peat shed is not mentioned either. Hhmm?
After the detail on the malt he then mentions the Mash Tun of which he sets up the tantalising “a vessel so excellently got up as to be worthy of special examination” – and then fails to really mention any observations from his examination. He does later mention it as being 18 1/2 feet wide by 6 1/4 deep which was quite large, and he does mention a peculiarity about the draff which appears to be first dropped into the Underback before passing through “Sluice Ports” on to a “Draff loading bank”, which may just be the place from where the local farmers collected it.
There were four quite large washbacks at 59,000 litres each and two Pot stills with the Wash at 18,176 litres and the Spirit half that at 9,088. Tubular condensers were employed which Barnard records as “more economical of water and space, and more rapid in [their] action” and in a fashion seen elsewhere the waste water from them powered a small water wheel to work the agitator in the Wash Still.
Barnard notes some early environmentally friendly practices with the heat from the still flues passing under the boiler before release, and from which “steam in the boiler is got up by this means alone”. The steam was used for the engines, for cleaning the various vessels and also to heat the coppers for mashing water. He doesn’t state the heating source for the stills, although as he describes flues taking the heat away this suggests coil or oil fired, perhaps built just before the technology for steam heating water tanks was adapted to heat stills?
|Ben Wyvis Bonded Warehouse and grain store, now apartments|
|Ben Wyvis cask shed and cooperage site|
|Ben Wyvis offices, now being redeveloped into housing|
The street name for the hillside terrace and the two blocks of modern apartments on the upper slope is now simply ‘Old Distillery’, the Ben Wyvis and Ferintosh names no longer in vogue. The converted warehouse is recorded as part of Station Road and aside from the bars on some of the windows no other trace of the distillery remains.