04 October 2013

Just passing through: Stirling

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Last weekend I hopped on an orange Hairy Coo bus (Recommended! Warning: the buses really are bright orange and painted to look like Highland cows) with a group, put together through my university accommodation, and we went northwest to glimpse the Highlands. Stopping first near Stirling to see the National Wallace Monument, we were afforded some pretty nice views of Stirling itself and the border of the Highlands just off in the distance. We were at just the right height that the houses and cars below looked like toy models.

I chose not to climb up the monument, which one can do to the tune of £8.50 (and not much less for students) in order to climb some 300 stairs and see what is supposedly William Wallace's sword--or part of it. Personally, I preferred the views from the hilltop and walking around the monument... for free. (I still think in terms of American dollars, so £8.50 stings a little more like $13.50. Ouch.)

Of course, William Wallace will be a name familiar to anyone who's seen the movie Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson as Wallace. He was a key leading figure in the Scottish Wars of Independence, which began in 1296 and ended in 1357. I find myself studying this period a lot right now due to a Scottish architecture course I'm taking that has focused closely on this time period the last couple of weeks.

A quick video from BBC2's Antiques Road Trip:

We were super lucky with the weather and visibility was marvelous. The photos above are from different times of day -- we visited the Wallace Monument in the late morning, but stopped back through in the early evening to snap pictures of the castle really quickly and then head on back to Edinburgh.

I've been to Stirling once before, with my family a couple of years ago. So even though we didn't have the time to stop and properly look around the castle this time, it was kind of cool to find myself on familiar ground, and driving along the same road as we did then. It was the first time during this entire trip/visit/stay (I don't really know how to describe this year, exactly!) that I found myself on familiar ground. It was kind of comforting!

Of course, Stirling was only one spot we stopped, and rather than bombarding you with photos of the entire day, I thought I'd split it up a bit, so there will be more to come where this day trip is concerned!

Kate x