A Tale of Three Mills

A chilly – but fortunately not icy – morning greeted nine well-wrapped-up riders for the last of our winter rides. We started as with all our museum rides at the Dumfries Museum where Fiona Wilson pointed out the museum’s own windmill, which had been ‘blinged up’ and turned into an observatory now housing the world’s oldest working camera obscura.

We took a rather circuitous route out of town, using the Suspension Bridge, then back over the bridge at the old swimming pool, and back again over the Queen of the South Viaduct, which was once part of the direct line from Dumfries to Stranraer (aka ‘the Paddy line’). We paused for a photo with the region’s most famous cyclist, who seems to have updated his headgear somewhat

Kirkpatrick Macmillan Statue

Kirkpatrick Macmillan and eight of his closest friends

From there we took another ex-railway – the Caledonian – up as far as quarry road, past the quarry which supplied the stone for Andy Goldsworthy’s Striding Arches and up an apparently endless hill to our second mill which was built at about the same time and roughly the same size as the museum’s, but which is in rather less good nick these days. Behind it, not really visible in the photograph, we could just see the turning of some modern-day windmills, the wind turbines.

Duncow windmill

Duncow Windmill – or what remains of it

From there we headed past two Roman sites, but not before Mike Gray had remembered a third mill – a horse mill, in this case – hidden away behind a farm yard and we couldn’t resist all taking a peek inside. Amazingly the mechanism is all still in place (albeit looking rather worm-ridden). The Roman sites themselves are rather inconspicuous except from crop marks in the air, although we had a good look at some of the artefacts found on the site once we were back in the museum and had thawed out with hot drinks and biscuits.

horse mill

peering into the disused three-horse mill

So that was the last of our winter rides – which can only mean that spring is around the corner. We hope anyone who’s interested in what we do will come along to our next evening get together at the Coach and Horses on Thursday 7th March for a drink and more bike chat. And keep an eye out for the Easter Family rides we’ll be doing with Sustrans – and of course our short weekly summer rides in July and August

Summer – remember that?


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