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  • Quee MacArthur

The Mill and Clachtoll

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

Our route led us away from the sea, winding up the hill out of Achmelvich and on, past some roofless cottages with sheep peering out the empty windows.

We walked in silence for a few minutes, listening out for sounds other than our own feet on the path. Stopping for a moment, we looked down on a circular drystone building with old millstones tumbling out of the gap in walls which straddled a burn.

There was a notice board on the far side of this old water mill describing how the builders had cut the first millstones from the slopes of Suliven and transported them to this site.

Having recently seen a reconstructed Norse mill in Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis, it was not too difficult to imagine the wooden floor which would have held the millstones above the water as it rushed against the paddles.

The path rose steeply up the rocky gully with carefully placed stepping stones over the burn. At the top of the gully, we found ourselves standing on the single track road to Clachtoll.

Only an occasional car passed as we walked on until our destination revealed itself below.

Charlie and I said goodbye to Joe who went to stay with his folks. We sat on the beach looking at the split rock along the coast, heating some pasta on a stove and drinking a beer. We had pitched our tents earlier in the day and returned to the campsite to dispose of empty cans and wash the pan. There was still a bit of light left so we headed off to have a look at the broch as the light faded.

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