Blackthorn Salt Scottish Sea Salt

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Tower Power

Many who come around the Tower kindly comment that the Blackthorn Tower can feel more like an art installation, a huge constantly moving, yet static presence, or a living embodiment of sustainability. To us, it certainly does feel alive. It's always there in the background doing its gentle thing - not breathing, no, but constantly trickling away both day and night. It has its textures, smooth worn, salt-bleached Douglas Fir, beautifully grained Larch, 6-inch-long challenging thorns and solid steps, and delicate taps.
There are also the sounds, on calm days the seawater trickles akin to the constant patter of a warm summer rain then other times it can have a ferocious blast of ocean gale, with brine swirling wildly in and across the walkways and everything in between. Low winter suns send shafts of sunlight drifting in and across the tall centre, giving it an almost religious or sacred feel, or it can be dark and brooding, ramballiach in the best sense of the word (thank you Rabbie!). Texture, nuance, and natural form is all embodied within the tower and serve to guide the sea water's exposure to the elements of wind, sun, and thorns.
Does weather affect the tower? Whilst it is true that the Tower works in drizzle, on cold winter days and even during the night, it does, like the rest of us, have its preferences. On those rare high pressure, sea-breezy, hot sunny days the Thorn Tower is at its best and Salter Malky will be smiling. The wooden taps will be turned up to the full, as the seawater, or 'Mother Liquor' enters the Tower, and a few degrees warmer, the evaporation rates will be more efficient. The warmth of the sun raises the starting temperature of the liquid but also heats the top troughs, the great frame itself, those vast Douglas fir beams, the larch cladding, and the dark thorns. All will soak up the heat so much that on the most effective days each droplet will be ready to crystalize after just a single trickle around the Tower.
What happens at night? Putting the tower to bed at night does not mean putting it to sleep and closing the trickle taps. Our Salter Malky will always have a good eye on the weather and decide how much wind we can harness overnight and make sure that the taps are adjusted accordingly: a faster flow for stronger winds and a discrete trickle for a light whispering zephyr. The entirely natural evaporation of the seawater will keep on going all night long, as well as all day (so long as heavy rain holds off) until it reaches a rich salinity. The sense it makes is incredibly rewarding and its gentle stoical presence is, in a strange way, comforting.

Image by Jane Barlow via [PA Images](