Blackthorn Salt Scottish Sea Salt

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Here at Blackthorn Salt, we need not make a show of provenance or terroir, we just look up and know. Our location and sense of place is at the core of who we are: the West Coast of Scotland. It is our backdrop, our history and our inspiration.

Origins of the Graduation Tower

In the 6th Century, the first graduation towers used straw, but this rotted and fouled the brine. The technology matured over the following centuries and blackthorn bushels became prized for its hardiness and longevity. Today, there are several enormous and working examples of such towers in Germany and Poland. These no longer produce salt per se, but are run as spas, inviting tourists and locals with respiratory difficulties to come and breathe the briney air.

Bad Dürkheim's tower in Germany is one of the largest with a length of some 330m.
Antique illustration of saline graduation tower by Perot, 1873
Puffer Kaffir, built in 1944

Locally this coast-line was dotted with small salt making enterprises that came and went frequently.

  1. Ascog, Bute (1700s)
  2. Cock of Arran (circa 1710-1740s)
  3. Hunterston (medieval until 1700s; wood fired)
  4. Ardrossan (pre 1758; again 1773 and 1844)
  5. Saltcoats (C12th-closed 1874)
  6. Troon (working in 1820)
  7. Maryburgh (1765)
  8. Newton on Ayr (commenced pre-1810)
  9. Allyson’s pans (medieval)
  10. Bentfield
  11. Kingcase
  12. Bellrock (1720 and 1750)
  13. Craigie Pans (south side of the river)
  14. Ayr Pans (had 10 pans at one time, largest in the country)
  15. Shalloch Greenan (C12th, wood fired)
  16. Dunure
  17. Maidenhead/Turnberry (C12th–1744+)
  18. Girvan