Day 122: To Edinburgh via New LanarkJune 17, 2017 in the United Kingdom
Time to leave the Lake District, and England as well! Onwards to Scotland, another country but also at the same time, not another country. In Facebook terms, "It's Complicated". But first of course - a UNESCO World Heritage stop!
In southern Scotland, about 25 miles south of Glasgow, lies the village of New Lanark, an industrial town from the early 19th century. Similar to Saltaire that we'd visited a week or so earlier, it was a village set up to house workers for nearby cotton mills, and like Saltaire the owner was horrified by what his workers had to endure in the slums, so did his best to improve their conditions.
The houses were small but neat, and came equipped with proper water and sanitation (though the whole village is in a valley where the Clyde River runs straight through, so these things were both fairly easy to achieve). He also built the usual recreation buildings, schools and a hospital. What's interesting here though is that where Saltaire was operated on principles of religious paternalism, New Lanark's operator Robert Owen was much more of a socialist and an egalitarian.
His company shops sold goods at very fair prices (unlike many company shops which exploited their monopoly status with ruthless price hikes), which ultimately lead to the founding of food co-operatives that still continue today. His ideas of providing for workers outside of work and looking after families of injured workers etc lead to developments of social safety nets, and he actively encouraged his workers to unionise. Very revolutionary for the time, and visiting dignitaries were amazed that the mills were profitable as well as accommodating for workers.
We had a look around here, but you needed a fairly overpriced ticket to access most of the buildings (and we'd read that most of the information/displays were aimed at kids), so decided to skip. Instead we took a nice long hike along the river Clyde which winds past. There's some beautiful waterfalls about 20 minutes walk up the river which we rather enjoyed. There were some nice waterfalls another 20 minutes further on which we enjoyed a lot less, sadly! But still good to get a long walk in.
Back to the car finally, where we headed north-east towards our final destination: Edinburgh. We have three nights of accommodation booked here to explore and film the world heritage site in the centre of town (the Old & New Town). But thinking things over, we knew we also had to film a piece on the Forth Bridge, a UNESCO site about 25 minutes west of the city. Not wanting to waste half a day travelling in and out of the city, we made an impulse decision to film the Forth Bridge today as well.
It's a huge bridge and very impressive - built in the 1890s and the second-longest multi-span cantilever bridge in the world. I don't think it's an impressive record, but it makes sense when you see what it looks like. It's 2.2km long, the deck is 50m above the water and the tower tops are 100m over the water. All up it's very impressive. Filmed as best we could from a crowded shore, faced with several annoying people on jetskis tearing about. Is there a worse watercraft than a jetski? I don't think so.
Second site for the day done, we drove into Edinburgh proper to our accommodation. We're in a fairly decent spot, about 5 minutes walk from Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays each year. Managed to get a park right outside the apartment, where we lugged our stuff in. It's a half-basement flat - underneath street level at the front, but ground level at the back where there's a nice grass patch for Schnitzel to whizz on. Very quirky decorations with lots of candles and found furniture.
Feeling tired and unenthusiastic, we wandered to a pub around the corner for an ale and a meal before turning in. Lots more walking to come tomorrow I think!Read more