Unfinished Lade

Lost opportunity.

A short distance from Oakbank Mill the Ericht rushes impetuously down a gorge, forming a cascade known as “The Keith.” Tradition points this out as the scene of “Cargill’s Leap”, where in 1679,  Donald Cargill, the famous covenanter,  pursued by the dragoons of Claverhouse escaped capture by leaping across the Ericht at this spot. Pleasantly situated on the opposite side is Linnkeith house.

A recently installed viewing platform over the turbulent ‘Keithie’ onto Cargill’s Leap provides an interesting aspect of the raging waters of the Ericht. The mills on the river depended for their power on the amount of water rushing downstream and filling the lades that had been constructed to divert the water to feed the waterwheels. In times of low water the mills often had problems powering their work. The Grimonds of Oakbank planned to take advantage of the extra drop at the Keithie to increase the flow and power of the river at a new, larger mill further downstream. To this end they dug a very deep channel in the rock at the side of the river (just opposite Keathbank Mill) and started to accumulate stones to use in the construction of a new mill. In spite of their efforts the planned mill was never built and the deep lade was never finished. It is unfortunate that this project was not realised for it is the best natural site on the river for a powerful lade.

Walking in this area now can be quite tricky as the ground is uneven and often slippery.

Sources: Meg Luckins
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