THE world’s oldest working weighbridge has been discovered on a remote Scottish peninsula.
The weighbridge at Inverie, Knoydart, can only be reached by boat or by trekking 16 miles over rough terrain, and is more than a century old.
The Scottish-built machine was originally installed on the Knoydart Estate to weigh coal brought on by boat from Mallaig but has more recently been put to novel use to take the weight of groups of visiting walkers.
And now the owner of Fife family firm John White & Son (Weighing Machines) Ltd which built the bridge more than 100 years ago has visited the historic contraption.
Edwin White, of Auchtermuchty, said the one of couple’s own former employees came across the weighbridge while on holiday and helped bring it back into use.
Mr White made the trip to Knoydart with his wife, Tio, to see it in action himself.
He said: “It’s a very interesting artefact. The fact that it’s still working more than 100 years later is quite amazing.
“It was a well-kept secret, but not any more.”
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He added: “The two-wheel cart weighbridge was sold to the estate in the 1890s or early 1900s so that everyone living there, depending on their role and status, could be given the correct amount of coal.
“The coal came in by boat and one of the locals was able to show us a lovely drawing of a puffer beached for unloading.
“Amazingly all this came about a few years ago when ex-employee Bob Kennedy was walking on the estate and spotted the weighbridge.
“He scraped away the grass and on closer examination was astonished to discover that it was made by John White & Son.
“It wasn’t in use but he told that locals what it was and where it came from and they contacted us.
“We were able to identify the weighbridge in an old catalogue.
“It must have been quite a job to get it to Inverie and install it.
“It is flush to the ground but has never been flooded or lifted for any repairs.
“Now the local community, who own most of the estate, have taken on the weighbridge and cleaned it up.
“One resident gives it regular doses of lubricating oil and it is working very well.
“The estate ranger Tommy McManmon uses it during guided walks. It can take to about three tons and often they have the whole walking party standing on it.
“One one occasion they had about 30 adults and children crammed onto the plate. It’s a great memory for visitors.
“For us, seeing the weighbridge still working after more than a century in such a fabulous setting was extraordinary, unforgettable, and quite emotional.”
It is thought the historic weighbridge might now be the oldest working machine of its kind in the world.
John White & Son, Auchtermuchty, is the oldest independent weighing company in the UK.
Mr White is the eighth generation to be involved in the business since it was founded by his ancestor John White in 1715.
The firm has a history of producing long-lasting machines, including a beam scale made in 1715 which has survived to the present day.
The company’s weighing machines progressed as technology moved on and in the late 20th Century mechanical weighing machines were phased out in favour of electronic versions.
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