Friday, June 6, 2014

Stirling: Gateway to the Highlands





No, I am not yet done with Scotland. Before I got to the famous highlands, I first had to pass through the 'gateway to the highlands', as the town of Stirling has been called many times in history.

This is where the Stirling Boy Scouts hold their meetings,
according to the sign above the door

During the Civil War, not only castles were sieged: the pockmarks on this churchtower
are said to be the result of Cromwell's soldiers trying to get the priest to surrender this church
Compared to the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, Stirling was an oasis of calmth. (Even the pidgeons were a lot more laid-back than the seagulls of the big city) The town itself was a steep hill, leading to a hilltop with a castle that has a view on what are arguably Scotland's most famous battlegrounds: Stirling Castle.


The hill has been inhabited since Roman times, but most of the standing buildings date from the fifteenth century. The castle has been a residence for Scottish royalty, and also a favorite target for English kings in their bid for conquest. This is because Stirling The famous Battle of Stirling bridge, in which William Wallace fought and defeated the English, was near the castle. From the castle you can also see the location of the Battle of Bannockburn, in which the Bruce did much the same.


Why is the building on the right so orange? Blame the French!
The French built a large part of the castle as part of the Auld Alliance with Scotland.
A few years ago the Great Hall was restored to look more like it would
have looked when it was first built. 



For those of you who are into football: according to history,
this is where the world's first recorded match was played.

This little courtyard was home to a different game:
one of the James' held a living Lion here,
to impress his visitors.

Even apart from the architecture, the castle has a lot to offer. Stirling is famous for the Stirling Heads, a collection of woodcuts featuring portraits of famous and legendary people. Although the originals are mostly lost or spread around the world, replica's are kept in the hugely entertaining museum in the castle. An added extra is the workshop. Within the defensive walls, a workshop has been errected with a huge medieval loom in it. The above picture is one of a collection of medieval tapestries that are being reproduced, as historically correct as possible, while the public watches. It was a sight to see, even though I couldn't take pictures there.


And now, I'm on to -what else- my exams.
Wish me luck,
and I promise you,
there's a knitting post coming up!

xxx

2 comments:

Veronika said...

Scotland is defo on my list of places to visit, your posts and great pics certainly didn't put me off!

Best of luck with your exams; I'm sure you'll do splendidly!
No exams for me this year, just waiting waiting waiting for the end of this pregnancy... 4 more weeks, give or take a few days, and hello baby! (It's my 3rd, so I added to the exitement by not knowing the gender.)

diy said...

Weer wat geleerd.
Veel van de geschiedenis is hier niet algemeen bekend,maar nu weten we al heel wat meer over schotland.
Een mooi geschreven verhaal.
Veel succes met je examen en een fijne vakantie om wat op adem te komen.
De groeten.
Daaag.

Paul.