LANARKSHIRE

UK South Scotland Old Coatbridge railway station, Nth Lanarkshire Flickr Ray DevlinLanarkshire (also known as The County of Lanark) lies close to the major city of Glasgow, which steals most of the limelight. Therefore, this side of the county serves a more serious, administrative function and is not too hyped up in tourist books. Surrounded by several other counties such as Stirling, Galloway and the Scottish Borders, Lanarkshire itself is split into northern and southern sections. This quiet county receives visitors for just a few sights such as the David Livingstone museum in Blantyre and the New Lanark World Heritage Site (a renovated 19th century cotton mill community). The region is also home to a fascinating web of wildlife that roams about in the thick foliage of the Clyde Valley, which sheathes crashing waterfalls.  




David_LivingstoneBlantyre (pop 17,000) is a town located in the southern end of Lanarkshire. This slightly depressing suburban town is bound by the River Clyde to its north and the Rotten Burn River to its south. Home to a few hamlets and villages, Blantyre is believed to have been inhabited for centuries. In fact, little villages like those located in High Blantyre are said to have been in existence since the Bronze Age. Blantyre’s peak was probably in the 18th century when it developed in to a busy cotton mill town. Main Street roughly divides the town into two parts and this is where the buses stop as well. However, many recommend arriving at town via the trains, which stop at Glasgow Central (walking distance from the town centre).

Sights
There is just one major tourist attraction in town- the David Livingstone Centre [165 Station Road, +44 844 4932207 http://www.nts.org.uk ad/ch €6/5]. This well-kept museum is a stark contrast to the glum surroundings of the town. It houses a comprehensive collection of artefacts and exhibits that tell the incredible story of their hometown hero. David Livingstone was an average Blantyre boy, who started working in the cotton mill at the age of 10. However, he managed to educate himself despite the poverty, earning him a place in a university where he learnt medicine and became a doctor. David Livingstone put his medical knowledge to good use when he began travelling the world as a missionary. These travels brought him to faraway places like Africa, where he was the first European man to sight and name the Victoria Falls. The museum documents his life as a missionary, including his fights against slavery and his famous meeting with Henry Morton Stanley (an American reporter). 

 


UK South Scotland New LanarkLanark (pop 8,200) is a sizeable market town in south Lanarkshire that has a trading history dating back to the medieval era. The town was declared a Royal Burgh in the 12th century when King David I recognised its commercial importance. He then developed several other burghs (similar to French bastides-fortified commercial towns) along the path from Lanark to create a trading route. Today, Lanark still maintains its trading habits by housing a large auction market that thrives on the local produce; however, the town’s population caters more to the labour needs of the nearby Glasgow city. The well-preserved New Lanark Heritage site is located south of this town, near the gorges of the Clyde Valley.

Layout
Lanark is dissected into its northern and southern parts by the major roads- Park Place and High Street. You can arrive at Lanark via bus or train at the eastern end of the town. New Lanark is located just a few kilometres south of town.

Sights
UK South Scotland New Lanark woolThe cotton mill village of New Lanark [+44 155 5661345 www.newlanark.org ad/ch €8.50/ (6-7)] is perhaps the best sight in town. This restored 18th century mill village lies close to the Clyde Falls and is a unique world of its own. The New Lanark cotton mill village was founded by David Dale in 1785; however, it was his son-in-law Robert Owen (who took over in the 19th century) who created a futuristic place of work and residence. The New Lanark mill village was light years ahead of its time in the 19th century, as it boasted nurseries, adult-education centres and social centres in a time where child labour and corporeal punishment were prevalent. Owen’s unique foresight created a new way of living in this busy village that once spun truckloads of cotton. This once thriving community is now a polished, serene tourist attraction that stands against the Clyde Valley backdrop.

 A tour around New Lanark can take up to half a day. The entire complex houses a school, hotel, hostel, warehouse and even a gallery. You can experience the life of an average millworker’s in New Lanark during the 19th century, via the Annie Mcleod Experience – a high-tech audiovisual presentation that takes you through various places in the village. You can also get a feel of the place via the New Millennium Experience – a ride through New Lanark’s past and plans for the future.

If you head further south of the village you will find beautiful natural spots like the Falls of Clyde [+44 155 5665262 Free] – a nature reserve that protects wildlife such as bats and badgers. You can also head straight down the riverside path to Cora Linn- an enchanting waterfall that once inspired greaT.