Yesterday, I flew from Dublin, Ireland, to Edinburgh, Scotland, and spent the night at an airport hotel. This morning, Evie flew in from the States and we began our tour of Scotland by first having a “full Scottish breakfast” (pretty much like a full Irish or a full English) at the hotel and then hitting the road for Dumfries by way of Lanark. We went to Lanark because it is a place with which a parishioner, Sue, has a connection. It’s a very nice town – we visited the tourist information office, had a cup of coffe, walked the High Street, passed by a couple of churches, took a couple of photos, and then went a short way out of the downtown area to visit “New Lanark”, historic cotton mill.
The cream-colored structure in the above photograph is St. Nicholas Parish Church of the Church of Scotland. According to the website Sacred Scotland, it was built by John Reid of Nemphlar in 1774, and described as a “large two-storey classical box with a square tower and steeple.” Prominent on the facade is an 8-foot statue of William Wallace sculpted by Robert Forrest. The church exterior was restored 2008-09. Unfortunately, other than on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings it is open by appointment only.
William Wallace, by the way, is the fellow whose life and military campaign was fictionalized by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart.
Other churches we passed were Greyfriars Church, apparently also a parish of the Church of Scotland like St. Nicholas, and Christ Church, a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church. We liked the signage and the planting of the front walk of Christ Church. This signage is much more informative and inviting than what one sees on parishes of the Church of Ireland, which is one of the problems the Church of Ireland has, in my opinion. (The Church of Ireland needs to do a LOT of work in the area of evangelism, invitation, welcoming and incorporation … not unlike the American Episcopal Church.) Unfortunately, Christ Church like St. Nicholas was locked up, so we couldn’t get a look inside.
In addition to the parish’s own sign, there is a sign we saw elsewhere as we drove to Lanark: “The Scottish Episcopal Church Welcomes You”
After our brief walk through the center of Lanark, we drove about a mile out of the town to the New Lanark World Heritage Site. This is a nicely restored 18th century cotton mill village established in 1785 and nestled in beautiful valley along the River Clyde. New Lanark was a Utopian experiment set up by social reformer Robert Owen who, with partners, purchased the mill in 1810 and began to run it and take care of the workers in accordance with his social principles. (I didn’t know much about Robert Owen before visiting the site, but plan to learn more about him as time allows.)
Part of the tour of the site involves a pretty glitzy ride through “The Annie McLeod Experience”, which reminded us of a low-key Disney-theme-park sort of ride. I don’t think their presentation of cotton milling is as good as I saw at Quarry Bank Mill in Wilmslow (see my blog entry on 17 July 2011), but the restoration is very impressive. The walk-through showing what life was like in the workers’ “apartments” is very interesting, and a there is a roof-top garden with several sculptures of animals. Below are a few pictures of the sculptures and the buildings:
For more information about New Lanark, visit its website here.