Scaur Hill Lime Works

Scaur Hill Lime Works

Archaeological Site


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Scaur Hill Lime Works
On the A823, between Knockhill Circuit and Hill End, a small burn runs under the road just about where there is a fairly sharp bend. This is North Lethans, and there is enough room on the north side of the road to park one or two cars at this point. This is the start of a short stroll into the past.
Climb the low fence next to the gate and follow the track north and you will quickly come to the limekilns. This is a stone-built double-flue kiln that dates from the end of the 19th century. Limestone, which outcrops naturally near the ground surface in this area, was quarried and baked in the kiln with wood or coal. The end result was quicklime that could be made into mortar. In this case, however, the Scaur Hill lime works, as they were known, probably produced the lime for agricultural purposes, to act as a fertiliser to lower soil acidity levels.

Follow the track a bit further and you will come to a locked gate. This gate marks both the Saline parish boundary and the Fife County boundary. Climb the gate and you leave the Kingdom of Fife and arrive in Perthshire and Kinross. On your right you will see a water-filled quarry and on your left there is a line of trees. Walk towards the trees and search in the grass and you will discover two large pits. These are 12 or so metres long, 4.5 metres wide and up to 1.8 metres deep. These are Clamp Kilns, the forerunners of the stone-built limekilns, and date from the late 1700s.

To complete your stroll, follow the track a few more yards and you will be confronted with a magnificent panoramic view over a fair-sized chunk of Perthshire and Kinross, with Aldie Castle lying a few miles distant. To travel even further back in time, return to the quarry and carefully make your way to the other side of the water where shale has spilt down the side of Scaur Hill. Search for a while and you will probably find a few fossils of shells and small worm-like creatures. The shells are known as bivalves and the worms are crinoids, and are from 270 to 350 million years old.


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