I can remember on quite a few occasions being taken by surprise and on one particular occasion by absolute bloody fright!

The first, we (myself, Paul Coleman, Dave Cowan and the one and only Lee Mcgillvray and a few others who's names escape me for the moment!) Were walking through towards 'The white bridge' along by the old power station. When I happened to catch a glimpse of something in the corner of my eye inside the old office block. I looked over from where we were standing and I spotted a young female who was dressed in old fashioned gear (was to us at the time anyway) looking out at us from where the old Dolly Owen works used to meet the furthest away part of the building by means of a doorway. She looked no older than maybe 19-20 and had what looked to be a form of white pinafore and darker dress type thing under with hair in a bun. I said to my fellow Stanleyites what I was looking at and they looked over also just in time to see her go through the doorway, pop her head back for one last look and disappeared along with a great white flash to the opposite end of said building!

Well, needless to say it is the first and only time we made it up that Mill Brae in under thirty seconds flat!

The second occasion was with the same lot of cronies in the little flat roofed building that was situated just inside the main gate on the left.

We had made that our patch, it was decked out with believe it or not a leather suite that the couch folded into a bed, pool table, coffee table and various other pieces of acquired furniture and goodies. It was at the weekend and this time we were under the influence of a few shandies!

I stepped outside to relieve myself, as the cold night and shandies were starting to affect me!

And as I stood there just before the little bridge thingy where the water that run from along the back of office block, under the road to come out under the ledge down by the old Canteen. I looked over towards the mill, as it was a cold night and the moon was huge and illuminated it from through the back. And again I was looking at some mysterious figure looking out at me from, I think the East Mill ( that ran parallel with the river itself). I looked at the other windows running along that level ( would say at least a dozen in total) and there was one at each window! You know those religious folks with the black hats, beards and black overcoats, Ohmish or something, well that's what they looked like but about nine feet tall! Again I called the crew out to look and they all spotted the same. Being a bit older braver and not so stone cold sober as the previous occasion, we held out and went back inside to enjoy the rest of our night and that was that.

It wasn't until a few years later (4-5 perhaps) my Mum shouted me into my Grans to have a look at a story in the Sun, I think it was, about a woman that lived up towards Blairgowrie and her neighbour across the field. While she was locking up to go to bed, she noticed her neighbours outside light on and people walking into the house. She mentioned this to her neighbour the next morning by asking if she'd had visitors the night before. I think you all know what's coming!!! She said she hadn't had any visitors at all that day and lo and behold there was an artists impression of what this woman had spotted. Well was it not those same figures we had spotted down the Mill perhaps 5 years earlier! She had even said they seemed unusually tall and even described the same black hats, overcoats and beards!

Needless to say I felt like I was going to pass out, I honestly could not believe what I had just read or the picture in that newspaper.

All my years growing up in Stanley I can honestly say that from the ages of 12-13 until my early twenties, I was down that Mill Brae at least once every day! There was always something, I felt drew me towards the Mill, it will always be a special place to me.

Many a day and night spent down there, whether it be getting up to mischief or just sitting on 'The Ledge' gathering my thoughts as the river passed me by.

Good to see it being looked after and may all the memories live on in us all.

Would love to hear many more stories from walkers and the workers from the Mill and any experiences whilst down there, there's got to be loads!

Thomas Cunningham

Stanley 1976-2003