06 April 2011


For anyone that finds themselves with an extra day in Scotland, try to make the trip to Stirling. From the vista of the castle walls, there is an amazing view of the Highlands. The town itself is cute, and you can certainly find a nice little pub for a good Scottish lunch. There are two main attractions in Stirling: the William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. The history of Stirling is rich and captivating, and I promise it won't disappoint.

William Wallace Monument
This is not exactly in the heart of Stirling - you have to grab a bus to get there. Built into the side of Abbey Craig, it's quite a hike to the top. The monument was completed in 1869. In the 1800s there was apparently a major surge of Scottish national pride, and it was decided that a monument should be built to its greatest hero.

For those of you who have seen Braveheart, it's not exactly how it went down. Although Scotland fully appreciates having a major motion picture made about its greatest hero, many find the casting ludicrous. Standing at only 5'9", many feel he is illequipped to play William Wallace, who was believed to be at least 6'6". Either way, I find the prevelance of Mel's face in gift shops hilarious. But I digress.

There are 246 steps to the top, so it is quite the dizzying climb. Every 75 steps or so there is a level that you can stop. Here, you can learn a bit more about Scotland's history. The wind is wicked at the top, so you're going to leave with a massive knot on the top of your head.

View from the top of the William Wallace Monument

Another view from the top of the monument. Hello, Highlands!

Our windy trio on the top.

Stirling Castle
This is perhaps the most historically important castle in Scotland. It was built up during the reign of the Stuart line. Several kings and queens of Scotland were crowned there, including Mary Queen of Scots. It was believed that whoever controlled Stirling Castle had control of Scotland. It is considered the gateway to the Highlands since it is situated along the River Forth. As a result, it has been attacked many different times, most recently by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746. 

Like the William Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle is built atop a craig. The climb to castlehill is a steep one, and I will admit that my legs were sore by the time we got there. The first record of the castle is from 1110, but the structure now standing largely dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also the site where the famous William Wallace trounced the British and regained control of Scotland's most strategic fortress.

View of Stirling Castle from its base 

The front entrance of the castle, complete with a statue of Robert the Bruce.

Looking upon the  royal residence - check out the palm tree!

Watch out, William Wallace Monument...

View from the castle walls.

Mom picture from the castle's wall.

1 comment:

  1. I think you should make a travel guide for Americans coming to Scotland with 1/3/5/7 day guides. I would like 10%.