I left Glasgow on the Great Northen Railways “In the Path of the Flying Scotsman” on 10 February 1998. The plan was to travel to Inverness stopping at Stirling en route. I’d seen Braveheart and read about William Wallace and the Battle of Stirling so I figured it was worth a day trip. From the train station I made a bee line toward the distant stone tower I assumed was Stirling Castle. The walk was longer than it looked and I had to wend my way through streets lined with those ever present British suburban duplex houses.
I made it to the big stone building, paid my admission, and climbed to the top of the tower. It was only when I read the plaque identifying buildings one could see from the top that I realized I was an eejit and not in Stirling Castle at all but in The National Wallace Monument. It was quite possibly the dumbest tourist moment in the entire six weeks. However, I got a good walk out of it and on the way to the real Stirling Castle I crossed the bridge that marks the site of the actual Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Stirling Castle made my day. It’s just a big old castle built atop craggy outcroppings and fun to wander around and explore. Great audiovisual displays interpreted the site and there are great views from the battlements. The castles was (and probably still is) undergoing some serious renovation, but even this was fascinating as signs explained how the castle would be restored to its former glory.
Arriving in Inverness, I checked into Eastgate Backpackers Hostel. For supper I got some Chinese take-away which inexplicably came with a side of chips. Hey why not have all of one’s greasy, sodium-filled foods at once? I stopped in at a couple of pubs – The Phoenix and Johnny Foxes – and tried some Scottish ales. Tuesday night in Inverness is pretty quiet though so I retired early.
On the walls of Stirling Castle.
This lion with its tongue sticking out cracks me up.