Douglas. For those wishing to golf, fish or walk, Douglas is an ideal centre. The village is of great historic interest having been the home of the Douglas family. Douglas and the surrounding area has strong links with the Covenanters going back to the 17th century. The Covenanters were Scottish Presbyterians who gave their support to the National Covenant of 1638 - a covenant that was in opposition to attempts by the King to establish a Scottish Episcopalian Church. There were many persecutions at the time - James Gavin, a local tailor, had his ears cut off and was banished to Barbados for his beliefs. He is remembered by a memorial in the centre of the village. In 1680 the battle of Airds Moss was fought, and afterwards Claverhouse's Dragoons stayed overnight at the Tollbooth in Douglas, keeping beside him the hands and head of Richard Cameron, one of the great leaders of the Covenanters movement. Douglas Heritage Museum, situated in what was once St Sophia's Chapel, features many excellent exhibits on the Cameronian regiment, as well as other local history.
Lanark - famous for its market gardening, sits over 200 metres above the upper reaches of the River Clyde. A statue of William Wallace - who lived in Lanark in the 13th-14th century, sits in a niche of the 18th century Parish Church. Going south from Lanark takes you very quickly to New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde.
New Lanark was built in the 18th century as a model industrial mill village. Building was started in 1788 by David Dale and Richard Arkwright to benefit from the water power of the River Clyde. Arkwright had created a spinning frame that was able to produce a thread far stronger than that made by the Spinning Jenny produced by James Hargreaves. In 1800 Robert Owen, Dale's son in law, took over as manager of the enterprise. Owen built sandstone terraced houses for the workforce that are still in use today. He also reformed the working conditions, reducing working hours down to 10.5 hours per day! and prohibited work by children under 10 years of age. Employees were tutored in his Institute for the Formation of Character. New Lanark's model working conditions made the place famous then as well as today.
The Falls of Clyde. At one end of New Lanark, you can see the wonderful beginnings of the River Clyde as it drops millions of tonnes of water onto the dark sandstone that bases the tree covered slopes of the gorge. Well worth a visit at all times of the year and can be combined with a visit to New Lanark itself.