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Left Haltwhistle and Hadrian's Wall driving to New Lanark, about 2 hours away. Arrived at the old mill just as they opened and spent the whole day and night there, staying at the hostel; there is also a hotel with pub onsite. This was a model village, very progressive in it's day, having the first creche (nursery school) ever, and providing better working conditions for the mill workers. There are 5 buildings open to tour, some with what I'd say are marginal amounts of information, but enjoyable none the less. The whole complex is quite large and included the mill of course, housing for the workers, a school, church, store, etc. The "millennium experience" which is done via carnival type cars on a track I expected to be hokey, but was surprisingly well done. Seems this is the major display there, all together five of the buildings are open to the public. The man who started the innovative treatment of mill workers also had an interesting American connection, attempting a similar model village in America. Had a bite to eat in the cafe, bought fudge, and a couple bargain T-shirts at the Edinburgh Woolen Mills store that is located onsite; there were some deeply discounted clothes to be had there (2 Ts for 6GBP)! Was fortunate enough to be able to listen to a fascinating lecture later that evening on the industrial age given by a historian who is one of the tops in his field, has written more than 20 books. It was held in one of the open buildings and ended by 9 or 9:30 PM; I didn't stay for the wine offered afterwards.
2. Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve
Walked up the River Clyde to see the 3 falls, just gorgeous, reminded me of home. Along the way stopped at the station set up by the park people where there are webcams set up on a pair of peregrine falcons with their babies. Fascinating to see the mother feeding them a starling. Also a little detour to ruins of a castle above river where there is a bat habitat, but it was too early in evening for them to be out. Saw a couple of boys fishing for browns off a bridge below a hydroelectric dam and talked to them a bit, really reminded me of the Klickitat River in Washington. Then walked back to the village, passing a young man and his mother along the way. Despite my "hello" then "good evening" got absolutely no response from them.
Then over to the hostel, also onsite; my first and only stay at a hostel. Had 2 other roommates in a 4-bed room, one a most charming and friendly Australian lady in her 70s and the other a lady my age, 40s who didn't seem to speak English. Wouldn't you know, she was one of the unresponsive people I passed on the river trail earlier! Despite the rather talkative lady's several attempts to speak to her, nothing in response. I know in fact that she COULD speak some language, because at times she muttered to herself, also said 2 or 3 words to her son when he stopped by the room to say good night. She unfortunately arrived the latest, so got stuck with an upper bunk (above me) which didn't seem to please her at all. If I had only known how it would turn out I would have offered to switch bunks with her then and there! We all turned in about the same time, the Aussie lady and myself reading in bed until 11 PM or so. I'm the type that can sleep just about anywhere, anytime, on a plane even. But I did wake up briefly a couple times during the night due to the Aussie lady getting up for the john (it had a very loud fan that came on with the light). But then at 4:30 AM the "grump" woke up. And I kid you not; it took her a full 15 minutes to figure out how to get out of that top bunk! The whole time she was shaking the bed frame, kicking, thrashing around, more muttering (swearing?) - I could see her legs waving around above me. She stubbed her toe, and even I understood "Ow". At one point she even started crying a little, she was so frustrated! I felt so bad for her I almost offered to help but was afraid to offend her, could hardly keep from laughing as it was. She finally made it down and to the loo, then just left the room. I had wanted to get up early anyway (maybe not THAT early), so went ahead and pulled on the clothes I had laid out, said goodbye to the other lady, who also had been awakened (of course), and left. Saw the poor thing sitting near the door on my way out; I think she couldn't wait to leave! Sure can laugh about it now, will always remember my first hostel experience. Anyway drove on toward Inverrary.