MHG49617 - Mill dam and pond - John O'Groats Mill


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • MILL POND (18th Century - 1750 AD? to 1800 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Mill pond that supplied the water for the John O'Groat's Mill, Caithness.

A large mill dam is shown on an estate map of Duncansby dating to 1817.

In 2013 AOC Archaeology Group was commissioned by the Princes Regeneration Trust in association with the North Highland Initiative to undertake the first phase of works of a much wider vision for the future of the abandoned John O'Groats Mill. These works, undertaken between 4th-8th March and 14th March, included: a desk-based assessment and walkover survey of the land within the ownership of the mill owner; a detailed measured survey of the mill; a general topographic site plan of the area including the mill pond and its associated waterways; a detailed written and photographic survey of the mill, the mill cottages and the abandoned cottages to the north-west, as well as the adjacent 17th century Cromwellian Bridge; an inventory of all the moveable artefacts inside the mill and a geophysical survey on the ground surrounding the mill (carried out by Rose Geophysical Consultants).

The mill pond is located to the south of the mill, across the main road and to the east of Mill House. The exact date as to when it was established is unknown, although it first appears cartographically in the 1877 map. It consists of a roughly rectangular pond, lined to the outer edge with Caithness flagstones, many of which have slumped and toppled, although the original character of it remains. The raised perimeter of the pond has also been eroded by cattle over the years, and small passageways at the weaker points have been broken through the mound. The manipulation of the water supply comes from the main north/south burn to the west, called the Burn of Duncansby, which flows into the sea further north of the mill and then from the east leading to John O'Groats further to the south of the mill pond. It is diverted to the west side of the pond through a small waterway which has now been dammed. An outlet to the waterway is then seen to the north over a paved weir (no water now flows here due to the damming) which is also paved and neatly sided at this point. Two small bridges of Caithness flag cross the burn here also. A timber structure, which appears fixed to the concrete, is located further to the west of the burn on the ground, its function unclear. To the east of the mill pond, on the north side, is a large underwater culvert providing access to the main mill lade. A large drystone structure is placed over it with a cast-iron fitting in the top, presumably relating to the sluice gate mechanism. The remains of a timber sluice gate is located to the north side, now rotten. <1>

NOTE: in <1> it is reported that the mill pond is first shown cartographically on the OS 1st edition map of 1877. However, this can only relate to the pond in its later and more recent form as a larger pond with its dam further to the south is shown on the 1817 estate map. The lade to the mill is also shown leaving the mill pond in a different location [IS-L 18/03/2022].

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred ND 37225 73094 (146m by 196m)
Map sheet ND37SE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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