MHG60882 - Sawmill - Skibo A CFC Camp, Migdale
No summary available.
Type and Period (1)
- SAW MILL (Second World War - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
- None recorded
Spinningdale and Migdale Lumber Mills were constructed and operated between 1942-1946 by the Canadian Forestry Corps, an integral corps of the Canadian army. These and similar mills at Clashmore and Invershin were extensive, high production units, each employing a Company of men. Each mill included timber barrack accommodation, catering and entertainment facilities, generating equipment, saw mills, maintenance and repair shops for heavy earth moving and timber hauling equipment, and narrow gauge tramways for disposal of sawdust and slabs. Only evidence today are the remnants of sawdust piles and a network of roads bulldozed to facilitate timber extraction. During the First World War logging and sawmill operation was carried on in the parish by American civilian lumbermen. <1>
Grid reference needs checking and site visited to determine exact location of mill - J Aitken : 19/2/2004
William Wonders’ book, The Sawdust Fusiliers, describes three Canadian Forestry Company camps in the area in WWII: Skibo A near the eastern end of Migdale Loch, Skibo B (closer to Spinningdale), and Skibo C/Clashmore. The camp for Skibo A is located just off the path leading from the end of Loch Migdale towards the public road (NH 652 905). There is a cleared section with bits of concrete, still surviving. A Murray remembers being in the camp and sawmill which was located further along the road. The huts were wooden (not nissen huts). The huts were above the path and the hall/cookhouse below it towards the outflow burn. There were dances at the camp, which local people attended, though WRENS were sometimes bussed in as well. Below the camp, not too far from where the path from Migdale joins the public road and near where the burn comes down from Kyleoag, is an area with concrete foundations (NH 661 907). A Murray remembers this as the sawmill site. He remembers ponds for the logs, and an elevator with spikes to lift the logs out of the water. According to Wonders, Skibo A was occupied by Company 30 1942-44 by men from New Brunswick. <2>
A survey of the site of the saw mill was carried out over several days during autumn 2014 and spring and summer 2015 with small groups of volunteers from NOSAS and ARCH. A range of sources were used for the desk-based research including memories collected by ARCH as part of the Woodland Trust’s Ledmore and Migdale project. The preliminary survey began in the general area where it was thought the main sawmill was located based according to local knowledge. This lies at the east end of the track. The initial survey was focussed on the area immediately around the concrete bases, the wagonways, the pond and water management. The later survey extended c.1km to the west, around the end of Loch Migdale to include the accommodation area which lies beside the access track (see MHG32895). <3>
- <1> Text/Manuscript: Calder, Sinclair B.. 1974. The Industrial Archaeology of Sutherland: A Scottish Highland Economy 1700-1900. The University of Strathclyde. pp. 71, 91.
- <2> Dataset/Database File: Susan Kruse. 2014. Ledmore and Migdale Memories Project. Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH). Digital.
- <3> Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Coombs, A. & Kruse, S.. 2021. Skibo A Canadian Forestry Camp: Results of a survey undertaken by NoSAS and ARCH 2014—2015. North of Scotland Archaeological Society & ARCH. 17/08/2021. Digital. XY
|Grid reference||Centred NH 6613 9075 (120m by 119m)|
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