Today we’re back on the bucket list again and looking at the quaint little city of Stirling!
I had passed through the city, back in March 2013 when I visited the Wallace Monument with a group of PGs from St Andrews. In all honesty, I wasn’t impressed by it. It looked a bit bleh. However, I have to say it still has been on my radar for a little while. I wanted to see more of it and visit its castle.
Well the Brit is doing his PhD there and one day the perfect opportunity presented itself in the form of a housewarming party (of one of his colleagues). That day, we decided to head into town early so I could visit his uni town and finally visit the iconic castle.
We headed out on about one of the coldest days of November and walked around the city centre a little before making our way up to the castle. The center was cute, but felt very industrial to me, with its huge mall right by the train station. But the more we walked towards the castle, the prettier it all got!
The city is obviously centuries old. It apparently originates from the Stone Age, but it was officially named a royal burgh in the 12th century. Stirling was mainly known for its great defensive fortress – which is the site of the castle, which oversees the entire city and really its entire region.
It gets a bit steep to make it up to the castle and it quickly made me realise that I’m now out of shape. At least pretending to take interesting photos granted me some breaks 😉
Anyhow, we headed up and into to the castle and it was truly a fun experience! We purchased joined Historic Scotland membership (I had previously owned one and convinced the Brit it could be a great idea!) and after a few papers to sign we were granted access to the site.
I didn’t expect Stirling Castle to be quite as exciting as Edinburgh Castle, but it was a good experience! Mainly because it is much smaller and less crowded, so we really got to enjoy the bits of the castle on our own, take photos without lots of people in them, etc. I’m all for that!
Also, the history of the castle is super fascinating! I can’t begin to retell all the tales we were told – about the wars, the battles, and the births and conspiracy that took place there. We had been given an audioguide at the entrance (with our memberships), but we quickly joined a tour and the guide was just really captivating!
The views over Stirling were truly amazing! I enjoyed the view much more than I had from the Wallace Monument. You could see the city centre and the parts further away, you could see the fields and the mountains. It gave me such a better perspective of Stirling!
We then visited the ever famous ‘yellow’ part of the castle, which houses the Great Hall. The guide mentioned the lavish parties they had at the time – I would definitely google the baptism of Mary Queen of Scots’ son, the future James VI, and the one of his son after him, Prince Henry. Quite unbelievable!
The guide also mentioned the fact that years ago they had found the recipe to bring the Great Hall back to its original colour of ‘gold’ (and apparently said recipe includes pee…), and after restoring it, were immediately told it looked terrible. I have no comments. I mean it doesn’t look bad … However it does clash with the rest of the castle. That is what had intrigued me back in the day when I saw it from the Wallace Monument and didn’t understand why part of it was a different colour.
Only bad part of having almost no one around – having no one to take our photo on the thrones! I need to try to photoshop it so it looks like we are sitting next to each other 😉
We quickly finished the tour in the main square – as the sun was setting and as the castle was shutting its doors very soon.
However – the visit didn’t end before I quickly popped into the dungeons for some fun dressing up! The guide had mentioned that if we fancied that sort of thing we could head there and dress up in some gowns of the era. Being who I am, I jumped at the opportunity! He just forgot to say it was for children. However, I forced myself into one of the dresses and am quite happy with the result! Don’t I look like royalty? 😉
Then 5 o’clock came around and we had to leave the castle. We had some dinner while watching Scotland hold its own against New Zealand at rugby before heading to the housewarming! It was truly a lovely day!
It never occurred to me however that I would soon become a resident of this little Scottish city. Yes – I am making the big announcement today! I have recently accepted a post at the University of Stirling and the Brit and I will soon be moving there! What?! I know! It’s crazy! I never even thought I would leave Edinburgh – and actually I’m heartbroken to have to – but very excited about the job and about our new flat! And it’s only about 50 mins away by train so I will probably be back in Edinburgh a couple times of month 🙂
Ever visited Stirling or its castle? What do you think about the yellow?xx