On the Wednesday following breakfast, we all packed into the car to undertake the promised visit to Stirling Castle. This journey took quite some time to make, but at last we arrived at the castle, parked the car and ventured in. The weather forecast had stated that it would be raining in the morning and then brighten up in the afternoon, and this encouraged us to don raincoats for this visit which we were glad of as the forecast proved correct.
There was lots to see, and as R had recently visited the castle with his school, he took charge of conducting us all on the tour. As you approach the castle you pass by a statue of Robert the Bruce which set K off looking for one of William Wallace ( very big Braveheart fan!) but we didn’t see one of him and she was quite disappointed.
First of all on entering the main courtyard, we made our way to the battlements in order to take in the stunning views from that vantage point, and then we ventured into the Great Kitchens which were very interesting. Figurines depicted what life would have been like in the kitchens, and dotted about each exhibition were books that you could read about the meals that would have been cooked in the kitchen at the time.
We then made our way to the Inner close and the Chapel Royal where there were some fantastic tapestries to be seen hanging on the wall in here. Following that we went into the Great Hall which is the largest ever built in Scotland. It really was magnificent and it didn’t take much imagination in order to visualise the long tables filled with food and the King and Queen sitting on the two thrones on the top table. There were five huge fireplaces, two on one side and two on the other with one behind the thrones which were used to keep the Great Hall warm. Of course my grandchildren and K took turns at sitting on the thrones and pretending to be very royal!
Next we made our way outside and down the walk to the Tapestry Studio, where a lady was busy making a tapestry that would end up in the Chapel Royal and join with the others already displayed there. The room was filled with different coloured bobbins of silk and the guide told us not to talk to the lady or disturb her. The tapestry she was working on was sideways on, and a picture on the wall depicted what the finished tapestry would eventually look like. I was really full of admiration for those who work on these tapestries. What patience they must have!
Then we retraced our steps back up to the Inner courtyard to go around the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regimental museum which is housed there. This was really interesting when you realised that the regiment had been involved in some really major battles which ranged in history and time from fighting the colonials in the American war of Independence right through to World war one and then two. My Dad, god bless his soul, would have been enthralled with it all.
We made our way into the gardens and took in the Castle Exhibition which was housed there and was really interesting, then we paid the gift shop a visit where I bought another fridge magnet of the castle as a souvenir. It was decided that we wouldn’t have something to eat in the castle cafe but instead go down into the town of Stirling itself so we all climbed back into the car and went into Stirling for some dinner. It was still raining and as we had spent quite some time in the Castle and it was now well on in the afternoon, we all decided to call it a day and return home.
As we left Stirling, I turned around to look back at the castle up there on the hill and marvelled at how similar it looked to Edinburgh Castle. Over to the left of the castle in the distance on the top of another hill is a monument to William Wallace, and my son and his family plan to visit this sometime in the future.
I had really enjoyed the day as I absolutely love looking around old castles and ancient buildings. I love their history and only wish that if only their walls could talk, think what stories they could tell!
TG The following day we had the cruise on the Loch to look forward to, that was if the weather was kind so see if we made it or not. See my photos for more shots of the castle and our visit.