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Salters' Walk to The Pans by 'Monks' of Newbattle Abbey: Saturday June 20th

Newbattle Abbey Monks are after Pans' Salt Again ... Walking begins 10 am Saturday June 20th ...

After more than 450 years, the 'monks' of Newbattle Abbey, who owned the baronial lands of Prestoungrange from 1189 until the Reformation, are coming looking for Pans salt. Led by Rae McGhee, Newbattle Abbey's Heritage Officer, they'll be following a route that is as near as feasible to the auld Salt Road, chronicled by Andrew Ralton.

The Walk is on June 20th and, on arrival in The Pans at about 3pm, they will be able to oversee the final stages of Prestonpans salt making on the beach itself - from Firth sea water - just as it should be. And they'll be gifted some of the precious commodity to take home to commemorate the occasion.

The Prestoungrange Gothenburg and Arts Festival have in recent years in partnership with science students at Preston Lodge School 'perfected' the art and science of boiling sea water but not so far adding ox blood to clarify and purify it. But that final step will now be taken well in time for the 'monks'. Andrew Laurie, The Goth's Chef will be helping more than a little.

The 'monks' in question will be staff and students at Newbattle Abbey which, since its gift to the nation by the Marquis of Lothian in the 1930s, has been one of Scotland's leading adult education centres. They will be joined by committed walkers from Newbattle.

MacLeod Family and former staff at 'Scotland's Salt Company' will be there too ...

Sinclair MacLeod and his sister Fiona, who still lives in the old house used by the SaltMasters, cousin Mary Jane and former staffers are also on hand and busy digging out old photographs. A 'Talk-In' will shortly be held to capture as much aural history as possible in the build up to June 20th. The MacLeods were the last owners of a salt making enterprise in The Pans - and the company finally closed in the early 1970s.

They are pictured here visiting Aldhammer House with Rae McGhee, built on the site of the old salt works, at the end of January, as the planning for June 20th got under way in The Pans.

click to enlarge images

from left picture 1: staffer Mary Turner, MaryJane Burns, Rae McGhee and Fiona Stewart

East Lothian Museums also hold a considerable archive and maps [to be investigated] and there are two interpretation boards in Salt Preston Close that need restoration - as seen in picture 2.

Newbattle Abbey Hopes for an Annual Walk

Newbattle Abbey and the Arts Festival both hope the Walk can become an annual commemoration, and that the research undertaken will lead to a book and an exhibition in due course just as research on the town's pottery did in 2007 with very great success.

Published Date: February 1st 2009

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