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Avochie Quarry

Many of the buildings and structures around Kinnoir were built with stone from Avochie Quarry. The quarry dates from around the middle of the 1800s and at one time was a major employer in the Kinnoir/Rothiemay community. At its peak in the late 1800s there were about 50 men working at the quarry. Workers were drawn from Kinnoir and Rothiemay but some even came from Huntly every day to hew and dress the stone into building blocks and lintels. In the early days the workers from Huntly would cross the river Deveron at Avochie on stilts to save them the long walk via Rothiemay but later a footbridge was built near the quarry to allow pedestrians to cross in a safer fashion!. A steam tractor was deployed at the quarry to move the heavy loads but the majority of the lifting and cutting was done by hand by the men who worked there.

The fine white granite available from the quarry was much sought after and, despite the difficulties of transport in those days, the granite was carried all over the North East of Scotland by horse and four wheeled cart. At the peak of production there were several cart loads per day transported to nearby Huntly.

Some notable structures that were built with granite from the quarry include, Kinnoir School. Shenwell School (near Drummuir) and the Rothiemay bridge over the River Deveron. Many of the houses in Rothiemay were also built from granite from Avochie Quarry and, as these pictures show, the stone looks as good today as it did over one hundred years ago.

Loanend farmhouse in Kinnoir which at one time served as the Post Office in Kinnoir was also upgraded and extended in the late 1800s using granite from the quarry.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 spelt the beginning of the end for Avochie Quarry at that time. Not only did the demand for high quality (and relatively expensive) stone drop, the availability of manpower to work the quarry was also reduced as the able bodied men were called away to fight in the war.

So sadly at some time around 1916 the quarry closed its operations and did not open again after the conclusion of the war.

However, times change and the demand for high quality stone has again made the quarry viable. With modern equipment and techniques the company of Tennants  (Elgin) Ltd, a provider of high quality stone and cobbles, is again producing fine white granite blocks from the quarry at Avochie.

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Photo credit Jim Morrison

Photo credit Jim Morrison

Photo credit Jim Morrison

Photo credit Jim Morrison

Photo credit Jim Morrison

Picture provided by Patrick Scott, Huntly