Archive for the ‘Stirling’ Category

Castle Tours…   2 comments

Today was a real treat!!!  I got to ride in the front seat like a big boy!!  I’m usually doing all the driving but this time it has been really nice to just sit back, enjoy the scenery and let the boys drive–and today was a great day for that.

We decided to try and visit 3 castles today:  Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Doune Castle.  Monty Python fans will recognize that last Castle as the one used in the movie “Quest for the Holy Grail” 🙂

This morning dawned BEAUTIFUL!!!  Clear blue skies once again.  We first went to Edinburgh Castle and began touring there—absolute incredible views of all around, just breathtaking!!!  We kept trying to picture what it must have been like to be there 4 or 500 years ago.  There’s soooo much about this place that I would love to talk about–the history that went on here, etc.  We visited St. Margret’s Chapel–the oldest structure at the castle–built in the 1100s.  Found it to be quite moving.  Then, we also visited the Scottish National War Museum within the walls of the Castle.  We found this to be VERY moving as well with all the dedications to the soldiers of the past who fought and died.  I noticed that NO ONE spoke above a whisper in this building–you wouldn’t dare, there was a Holy presence, you could feel it.  In the Royal Palace, among other things, we were able to view the Crown Jewels, and the famous Stone of Destiny upon which all the Kings of Scotland have been crowned–the most sacred item in all of Scotland.  The history behind BOTH these items is incredibly fascinating–with tales of intrigue, escape and war.  I really encourage anyone interested to look up the history on both of these or ask me about it later–I love sharing the stories about these things 🙂  It was REALLY difficult to tear ourselves away and leave this place but we had two more Castles we wanted to see and it gets dark early around here now.  Unfortunately, photography is NOT allowed within the Castle buildings so we were not able to get pictures of these items.

We next headed up to Stirling Castle–a magnificent Castle high upon a rocky crag.  Stunning sight to see—similar to Edinburgh Castle.  It seems impregnable from where it resides.  Stirling remains one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Scotland.  Stirling occupied a key position in Scotland’s struggles for independence and from its heights you can see seven battlefields.  Across the valley and high on another hill–across from the location of the famous Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace won his great victory–you can see the Wallace Monument, a 220 foot tall imposing Victorian tower/monument.  Unfortunately, too far away for us to have time to go visit but we could see it from the ramparts of the Castle.

The unfortunate thing, however, was that clouds began rolling in and by the time we were leaving Stirling, rain was falling.

So, off to Doune Castle we went for our final visit.  By the time we got there the rain was coming down quite steadily.  I would have LOVED to get photos of the outside but the rain was coming down so much that I didn’t want to risk shorting out the electronic components in the camera if it got wet–MAJOR Bummer if that happens.   So, I hid it inside my coat and we went inside.

Aside from the celebrity status it received with the filming of Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, it is an excellent example of a medieval castle.  It’s a small castle and we were free to roam around within wherever we liked in all the passage ways and tunnels that were opened to us.  We had a blast going up narrow spiral stairways and discovering new passages and rooms–we could have stayed there for hours but only had about an hour to enjoy it.  Because of the rain we were practically the only ones there—probably fortunate for our reputations–we spent a lot of time reciting lines from the Quest for the Holy Grail…I’m sure we weren’t the first 🙂

One photo I couldn’t resist posting…..Ryan got caught discovering the King’s “John”…..“Now go away or I will taunt you a second time!!!”

Once again, breathtakingly beautiful views and as you travel all around, as you look out into the fields, you see VERY woolly sheep with skinny little legs poking out, black faces, white faces and very different than what I am used to seeing in the US.  Also, cows out in the fields.  Rolled bales of Hay.  BEAUTIFUL Fall colors…oops, “colours”.  Also, quite often you’ll look out and suddenly see towers, little castle keeps, AMAZING estate homes, ancient churches, monuments, statues, etc, etc.  You never know what you’re going to see next!!!  It’s all too much to take in in only 10 days time.  Gotta find some way to come back again!

Tomorrow we’re heading for Lock Ness, Eilean Donan Castle, the Isle of Skye and whatever else we can add in.  Will be spending the night up there so don’t know if we’ll have internet access or not but will try to post something if we do.

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