Bannock Burn - Limestone Working

Limestone Working

Just below the reservoir at North Third, limestone was formerly mined, being converted to calcium oxide (quicklime) in lime kilns, the remains of which can be seen today, and then to calcium hydroxide in slaking pits. This was used for agricultural purposes, in reducing the acidity of the soil in the area. The limestone was first worked at the Touchadam Quarry, and the adjacent Craigend Lime Works, where there were several separate banks of lime kilns, and at least four adit mines, beneath the quartz-dolerite of the Stirling Sill. Later operations moved to the Murrayshall Lime Works (also seemingly known as Murray's Hole) in Gillies Hill, above the north bank of the Bannock Burn, and later moved to the opposite side of Gillies Hill, near Cambusbarron. At least two entrances to the mines were still accessible when last inspected by the author, however these were in very dangerous condition and should on no account be entered. Lime kilns can be seen at all three sites. The nearby quarries of relatively modern origin are in the quartz-dolerite of the Stirling Sill, which lies above the Murrayshall Limestone, and have no connection with the lime workings. These quarries, which in the 1970s were producing substantial quantities of crushed dolerite for use as roadstone, have also now closed, and the Murrayshall Quarry site is occupied by a concrete plant.

The Touchadam Smithy, a blacksmiths, was located between the Craigend and Murrayshall sites, and doubtless was involved in providing sharp tools for the miners.

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