6. Plakias to Mirthios via the old mill Walk and Cycle in Crete
One-and-a-half kilometres of level easy walking to the mill followed by one kilometre climbing steeply from the mill to Mirthios.
The old mill is one of the most tranquil places within a short distance of Plakias. It sits within the gorge, its substantial stone structure looking like a slender tower when viewed from the end. The cliffs that surround it are hung with spring flowers.
A stream bubbles past and the music of nesting birds fills the valley.
From the bridge on the seafront take the first right past Lyssos taverna and continue to follow the level track inland past the shops and apartments and into the olive groves. Do not cross the stream but continue past the sewage works.
15 min. One kilometre out of the village take the right-hand fork that follows the west bank of the stream. You will see the stone wall of another mill standing in fields some distance from the east bank but continue upstream.
20 min. The track changes to a path and now follows very closely the edge of the stream. The water here is much cleaner as it is above the outlets from the villages. The banks start to rise more steeply and the path winds over some rocks with irrigation pipes running alongside until it reaches an old arched stone bridge.
30 min. Don't cross the bridge just yet but continue upstream for a few more metres. The path is narrow as it squeezes past a cliff before the cliff pulls back to reveal a small church under an overhanging rock over to the left.
The water came from the main stream about a kilometre further up the valley and ran in a narrow stone leat to the top of the mill. Here it dropped inside the vertical stone pipe onto the mill blades that can still be seen in a cave below.
These wheels were propelled by the inertia of the falling water rather than the weight of the water held in buckets on the wheel. Some traces of the leat above the mill can still be seen and there are the remains of a bread oven in the lowest building.
If you follow the path up through the mill's stonework you will find it doubles back on itself and continues upward quite steeply.
50 min. This is a good clear path reaching the road at the upper end of Mirthios.