The Barony Mill features the only working water wheel in Orkney, and it's the only one in the world milling the ancient grain, bere.
On a guided tour hosted by the miller or a volunteer guide, you will have a chance to get the water wheel going and see the millstones and other machinery working, although we only do the grinding in the winter time. All the machinery is driven by water power, making it a very ‘green’ process.
Bere is an ancient type of barley, found in some Neolithic tombs and was one of the earliest cereals to be domesticated. It has been milled at Barony Mill since 1873 when the present mill opened. Bere is only grown in a few fields around Orkney's West Mainland, but to this day it is still ground into beremeal at Barony Mill. Your guide will explain the whole process from drying the grain on the kiln floor, using a unique, sustainable fuel, passing through three different sets of millstones, to sieving the final product.
Local bakers use beremeal to produce bannocks – a traditional bread and biscuits - some of which can be bought at the Mill, as well as oatmeal and beremeal itself.