Earlier this week we went to stay at the youth hostel in New Lanark. There were around 45 of us and we had free run of the whole hostel. We enjoyed cooking and eating together, sharing dorms and many fun activities.
On our first night there was a light show at the New Lanark Mill. Huge photographs of the mill and its workers were projected on the side of the mill, some with an accompanying soundtrack telling of how life was when the mill was a working factory. The lights were very atmospheric and it was exciting to run around in the dark with such a large group of friends.
The next day we ventured out to explore. The younger children made good use of the fantastic play park on site while some of the older children played cooperative games and followed the river in search of the Falls of Clyde.
As we rounded a corner we were hit by a sonic blast from the waterfall. It grew more and more impressive as trekked higher and higher up the hill, singing silly songs and making up stories as we walked. The gorgeous, autumnal hues and gentle sunlight gave the whole journey a dreamlike quality.
Later on we had a relaxing afternoon indoors complete with craft,
a movement workshop and an ingenious game devised by one of families in the group called Chaos Yoga which involved some yoga asana, improvised music, team challenges and more.
Our meal that evening came courtesy of ‘The Kids’ Kitchen’, a pop-up restaurant thought up and staffed by the children of the group. They worked together to prepare a delicious three course meal. We had ‘LemonTom coconut’ soup to start, stir fry with rice for the main course and a choice of peach, berry or apple crumble for dessert. A true feast!
The children drew up menus, waited on the tables
and then cleared everything away afterwards. There was some live music to accompany the meal and, afterwards, much deserved drinks of ‘elderapple posh juice’. It was a joy to see all ages working together with such competence and kindness. The food was excellent too.
On our second morning at the hostel we took part in an all singing, all dancing scavenger hunt created by another of the families in the group. We broke into three, mixed age teams and each followed our own trail around the whole of the New Lanark World Heritage Site. The trails took in the New Lanark Mill visitors’ centre, replicas of a mill worker’s cottage from 1820 and 1930, the Fall of Clyde visitors’ centre, a waterwheel and the on-site hotel which was once part of the mill. It was such an interesting and memorable way to engage with all the information there. We also had to complete a number of challenges along the way involving the apple tree in Robert Owen’s garden, bouncing balloons, plastic frogs pinging onto ‘lily pads’ and a game of Shut The Box presented to us on a throne in a willow palace.
Afterwards we wandered back to the hostel for a well-earned rest. The children took this as an opportunity to watch a bit of telly while the adults drank many cups of tea and chatted, with tiny ones crawling around under our feet and being passed from lap to lap. Some enjoyed a few stories
and decorated fairy cakes. Food was plentiful on the trip and enjoyed often.
We all recharged our batteries in preparation for the afternoon’s adventure – a two hour walk down the river, away from the waterfall and towards the little, old market town of Lanark. Once again, the journey was peppered with games, stories and silly songs. When little feet got tired they were given piggy-backs by older friends. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hostel and grateful for a hearty meal. The evening slipped away with games and chatting and soon all the children were asleep. Adults had sole occupancy of the kitchen and spent a good few hours getting to know each other that bit better, putting the world to rights and sharing even more food, drinks and laughs. All too soon the morning rolled around and it was time to clean the hostel and go home. A frantic couple of hours of bag packing, bed stripping and floor sweeping passed quickly till we said goodbye. Before we parted we took time to share our favourite moments of the trip with each other – brilliant activities, deepening of friendships, getting to know new people or seeing old friends in new ways, sharing familial tasks such as cooking and cleaning and the beautiful surroundings were all discussed with fondness. A wonderful few days with a wonderful bunch of people.