Today Kim and i hopped a train and went to Stirling for the day! I can't believe how easy the train system is here.....why don't we have this in Canada ?!? I love it.
We found our way through town to the site of Stirling Castle. This place was the stronghold used as a base for control over the Forth and possibly the Clyde rivers in the days of Wallace and the Bruce. What an impressive vantage. I really enjoyed this castle. Historic Scotland has spent a significant amount of attention to detail. As you will find in the pictures the Royal residence section of this Castle has been redone by artisans to show how it may have been at the time of official occupation. As a tradesman i was quite impressed by the workmanship. I heard one of the tour guides say that one of the rooms took an artisan 5 years to complete. He used hand tools to create the woodwork and joinery what an unbelievable feat. In addition to that, they have commissioned several tapestries to what original specs are known.
I have a lot of reading to do when i get home!
Next, we took off for the Wallace Monument. Otw we stopped in for a quick brew at a pub that has been in Stirling since 1733! As we walked in the front door a small group of people enthusiastically invited us in. Maybe we looked a little hesitant due to the dogs and baby pram in the entry. What a great place! We stayed there for the better part of an hour. The highlight was a cheeky wee Scotsman named Stan. Stan is 94 years old and quite the feisty fellow. He came on in as though he owned the place. (apparently it's been his pub for 60 years or so). He slammed back four ounces of scotch like apple juice and kept on poking good natured fun at his daughter and the bartender. I told him Kim was my daughter and he said "and a damn fine lass she is".
We found our way to the Wallace Monument by public transit thanks to our new friends at the pub and a helpful bus driver. We walked up the wooded hill to Abbey Crag as though in the footsteps of the resistance. This is thought to be the area where William Wallace gathered his troops in preparation for their decisive defeat of the English at Stirling. 230 steps to the top of the monument! The wind picked up as we neared the top of this engineering marvel. It felt as though a man could be blown right off the top. We braved the wind and it was worth it: What a view.
The Wallace sword is huge! Historians believe that in order to wield such a hunk of steel the man would have needed to be 6'6" or so. What a day.
A deluge of rain met us at the train station in Edinburgh and all the way back to the accom. About 2 km of wet.
Oh you thought the day ended there didn't you? Nope. We found a little pub on the royal mile where a group of musicians had set up. A couple of guitars, a penny whistle and some acapella numbers. Folk and traditional tunes......soooooo good.