One thing we’ve learned about Scotland so far, is if you see a patch of light, grab it- it mightn’t be there when next you look.
So it was when we drove into Stirling. It had been raining when we left Bucklyvie, just 20 minutes up the road. In fact, I’d looked out the window into the gloom and announced that I was so sure…so sure… that we’d be seeing the castle in the sunshine…yet it was raining.
Then, as we drove in, there it was- in the sun. As an aside, Grant remembers a similar view when he was a wee lad staying at his grandparent’s…and another aside, there was snow on this side when we drove through on Sunday morning on our way south.
When we drove into the car park and it was all still in sunshine and Grant suggested we go for a look in the old town first, I nearly threw something at him. Instead we got photos like this one of the statue of Robert the Bruce,
and this one of the old town
and this one of the little cemetery
and this one inside the castle grounds.
The monument you can see on the hill in the pic below is the William Wallace memorial- remember Braveheart? That one. Here’s a close-up.
The bridge in the bottom third of the photo is the scene of the battle that was one of the Scots’ greatest victories- the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The Scots waited up the hill near the monument and waited until half of the English army was on the bridge before charging. I can see those tartans now.
Some of the best views are from the castle.
Inside the castle is the palace, and all the things that you expect to go along with a castle. Like a lot of inner buildings…
a great hall with an upside down boat as a roof and big chairs for the king and queen…
and a big Christmas tree…
and a decorated ceiling and tapestry or two.
and someone dressed in period costume demonstrating what the Queen’s bed might have looked like.
The verdict? Stirling is an important castle- historically, the key to the kingdom. Whoever held Stirling held the highlands and held Scotland. History aside, we spent an easy two hours here- even those of us (I’m looking at you, Sarah) who are more historically challenged.
Oh, and finally, a bad photo of me, leaving on a cannon with the Wallace monument in the background.
Before we finish on castles…for now… we also managed to fit in a visit to Doune Castle. For fans of the Outlander series (oh, Jamie Fraser…be still my beating heart), you might recognise it as the fictional Castle Leoch. By now the weather had turned…who am I kidding? It had turned soon after I took the in the sun photos!