Passing by narrow Kirkstone Pass and the west coast of Ullswater, our drive from the Lake District towards the Trossachs started off beautifully. Once we reached the A74 motorway, it was easy as pie for most of the trip until we decided to stop somewhere in the vicinity of Abington for lunch – only to find out there was nothing. No decent pub, interesting restaurant, nothing in Google’s horizon.
Perhaps by a stroke of luck, Teko saw a highway billboard for New Lanark, boldly advertised as a world heritage site and it was, coincidentally, in our direction. Not many places can be inscribed as a UNESCO site so it must be something special, or at least I hoped. I quickly checked the UNESCO website and true enough it was there, and just as quickly found out there was a hotel with a restaurant where we could stop by. We were set, and half an hour later parked in a quiet – really, very quiet – area that, perhaps to reassure everyone, had ‘world heritage’ mentioned on almost every other building.
Both Teko and I found it a little underwhelming and perplexed how the place qualifies as a heritage site. If places we’ve recently been to such as Leeds Castle, or Cartmel, or Chipping Campden, all historic and culturally significant aren’t listed, it was a question mark floating on top of our heads how New Lanark made it. A saving grace, however, was a nature path beside the River Clyde, scenic and easy enough even for small kids and popular with dog owners. A nice walk let us get our legs stretched after the two-hour drive and get our blood and inert muscles pumping.
As for lunch, I had, if memory serves, my very first steak and haggis pie in Scotland. Hoping it was a decent version when I ordered it, since I’ve no basis for comparison, all I can say is it was completely edible and fully consumed – nothing extraordinary but satisfying nonetheless.
It hasn’t been a smashing introduction to Scotland but thankfully we have a good amount of time to get to know this country more in the next few days. New Lanark, while pretty, with luck is more the exception, and here’s hoping views that are more of the picture-postcard version become reality.