The old watermill at Second Coast


This is my latest painting; a pastel, sized about 400 high x 500mm wide. We walk down to it from where we have parked the car up alongside the main A851. It is not visible from the road so we have seen few others down there. To me, there is some mystery about this derelict old millhouse with its massive millstones still in situ and all its iron machinery rusting slowly away. I cannot see how the waterway, clearly intended to be a diversion of the main stream, can have been routed. Perhaps the whole project was never completed, who knows?

Many's the time we've sat down here on the rocks watching otters and divers at work and at play. Peace on earth ... this is my accompanying poem ...


The Watermill at Second Coast

With winter storms a power of water fights,
to roll great boulders down its winding way,
wild peaty torrents from the heathered heights
mad keen to join their mother, Gruinard Bay.

But now brown crystal gentles by each rock
and purple summer's in the Highlands still
and we can walk our downstream walk, take stock
and cross to sit by this old watermill.

What human hand and mind conceived it all?
forged iron wheel, ground stone on huge millstone
and dug the ditch, brought past the waterfall?
Why leave to let it crumble all alone?

The millhouse roof is gone, rank brambles fill
its space; in time, as when it all began
the watermill must go, whole nature will
embrace again the best intent of Man.

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