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Clearing 1953 windblow in Deeside
Forestry Memories
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No: 789   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1953
Clearing 1953 windblow in Deeside

Photograph courtesy of Sandy Tough, Huntly.

One of a series of 7 high quality photographs showing the blown timber clearing up operations progressing after the devastating storm in Jan 1953 that wiped out most of the medium and older aged forests in North East Scotland. The location is not identified but thought to be somewhere in Deeside and the people featured are unnamed. Any help to identify location or people would be greatly appreciated.

A beautifully detailed photograph (one of two) of a team of Riddoch’s men setting up a double bench saw mill to be driven by a steam engine.

To the right can be seen the floor of the double bench mill set up on blocks and large pieces of squared timber all under a new roof. The men seem to be working on fixing up the long cross drive shaft with its series of pulleys which is itself belt driven by the steam engine and in turn belt drives the two benches and possibly other machines. As the outlines of the rollers can just be seen, the moveable benches themselves are not yet fitted and at this point there is no sight of the shafts on which the saw blades are fixed or the circular blades.

According to Gordon Smith, Cairnie who was a saw miller with Riddoch’s this period must have been about the last of the steam engines and also the double bench mills. Immediately following the wind blow disaster every machine was pressed into service but after the trees were all cleared, the volumes of timber coming on to the market at any one site were much smaller and justified only setting up a single bench mill usually driven by a tractor fuelled by petrol/ paraffin and then diesel.
Picture added on 04 January 2011
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