Land's End to John O'Groats Cycletouring Trip Part 2


Day 51 - Tour of North Mainland

The last site I wanted to see on the Orkneys was the Broch of Gurness, and on the way I stopped off to look at Dounby Click Mill.

The click mill is the only Orkney example of this simple design of mill which was common on Lewis and Shetland. Each mill was only capable of grinding meal for a few families at the most.

In this design of mill, the water wheel and its paddles are on the same horizontal plane as the millstones which grind the meal.

Dounby click mill probably dates from the early 19th century. It was repaired by the Orkney Archaeological Society, and entrusted into state care in 1932.

The name 'click mill' comes from the noise that a peg on the upper millstone makes when it knocks the grain spout to provide grain into the hole in the middle. A small amount of grain is released on each revolution and 'click'.

From here to the Broch of Gurness. This architectural site was discovered by accident in 1929 when Robert Rendell, the Orkney Schollar, lost a leg of his stool into a hole in the top of the mound whilst sketching one day. He started digging and uncovered the top of the staircase on the west side of the Broch tower.

The broch is surrounded by a warren of Iron Age buildings, and probably dates to the 1st century AD. Vikings may have built the long house on top of the ruined broch.

A quick packed lunch here at the Broch of Gurness where, like other architectural sites in Orkney, the attendant disappeared for lunch leaving no cover. If you were quick you could dive in, look round, and leave again before he came back! I had already paid for my tickets in advance though.

Back in Stromness, I dropped into the Stromness Hotel for a drink again, and met Chris who I saw arrive at the campsite earlier today.

The distance travelled today was about 34 miles, judging by the map.



Photograph taken inside the Click Mill
The Click Mill



Photograph of the Click Mill
The Click Mill



Photograph of the Broch of Gurness
The Broch of Gurness



Photograph of the Broch of Gurness
The Broch of Gurness



Photograph of the Broch of Gurness
The Broch of Gurness



Photograph of the Broch of Gurness
The Broch of Gurness



Photograph of 'The Shamrock' at the Broch of Gurness
The Shamrock, Broch of Gurness




© Copyright  Piers Pettman - This page last updated 08 July 2006
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