Armin's World Tour of Scotland

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Facts of the Day:
Date: 18/August/2002
From: Carronbridge
Via: Stirling
To: Carronbridge
Miles: 27
Midges: 50 (Estimate)
Weather: Rain (lots of), drier later
Mood: drowned

Picture of BannockburnStirling was historically a very important strategic point, several important battles took place around here. One took place at Bannockburn, the first place I visited. Different to Culloden there is no actual battlefield with enemy lines to see, there is only a monument and the Robert the Bruce statue to see.Picture of the Robert the Bruce statue The nearby information centre gives a very good overview of the battle and related history. It also has information about other battles, in particular the one at Stirling Bridge fought by William Wallace. It was already quite grey with some rain when I visited Bannockburn,Picture of the rain but that was nothing compared to what happened when I arrived in Stirling. The rain became very heavy, it was just pouring it down. Water was running down the hill everywhere as the canalisation didn't seem to be able to cope with it all. And the rain didn't stop for the next few hours. Luckily I had a very good rain jacket with me, so I decided to have a look around Stirling nevertheless. My first stop was at Argyll's Lodging, but there wasn't that much to see and due to the rain I couldn't take any outside pictures.

Picture of the interior of the Great HallPicture of the Great HallI continued to Stirling Castle, one of the most famous castles in Scotland. Most impressive is the Great Hall, the largest in Scotland. After having been used as barracks and heavily altered by the army until 1964 it has now been restored to its original state. Compared to other castles there is relatively little to see in regards to interiors, most of what can be seen are exteriors. With the rain continuing I couldn't really enjoy most of it though.

Picture of Stirling CastlePicture of the Wallace MonumentI thought I try my luck somewhere else and drove over to the Wallace Monument at Abbey Craig, only a short distance from Stirling. It was built in the 1860s as a tribute to William Wallace, a freedom fighter against Edward I of England. I climbed the 246 steps to the top, from where I had some nice views as the rain finally started to lift. Stirling Castle (in particular the Great Hall) can be seen quite easily.Picture of the view of the Forth To the other side the River Forth flows into the Firth of Forth. I could see most of the bridges, only the Forth Bridges were still hiding behind the rain.Picture of Mel Gibson Returning to the car park I took a quick look at the latest addition, a statue of Mel Gibson pretending to be William Wallace (from the movie Braveheart). Well, apparently the real William Wallace was much taller than 6 foot, something Mel Gibson doesn't even come close to...

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