Stirling – Home to Kings and Queens
Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots are just a few famous names which can be connected with Stirling and the surrounding area.
Today I am going to take you on a virtual trip through Stirling. Starting off at Wallace Monument, taking a detour to Cambuskenneth Abbey (with a wee surprise for some of you), taking a path past the beheading stone towards the church of Holy Rude, passing Mar’s Wark and enjoying views down to Kings Knot from Stirling Castle, to end the tour we will take a short drive to Bannockburn Battlefield site of the famous Battle of Bannockburn.
Included I will give you a few tips what to do if you got a few days of time.
But first some general information about Stirling:
- scottish-gaelic: Sruighlea; Scots: Stirlin
- medieval old town
Situated on Abbey Craig (according to rumours William Wallace was said to have watched the english troups from this position before ordering the scots to attack) about 1.5 km from the historic old town of Stirling.
The Monument offers possibility for a small walk up, if you got limited time you can also take the free bus up Abbey Craig (but the walk is definitely worth the 10 to 20 minutes needed).
Up the small staircase you will find a wee museum on each floor, showing different artheifacts from times of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, including William Wallaces sword.
Most scenic of all is the view over Stirling, Clackmannanshire and the whole surrounding areas. In the far distance you can spot Ben Ledi, Stuck a’Chroin, Ben Vorlich and the Trossachs. Turn around and you’ll find a spectacular view over the Ochils and towards Stirling Castle, if you take a close look you might spot Bannockburn Battlefield or our next stop Cambuskenneth Abbey.
Please note that there is an entry fee for Wallace Monument (if you got a ticket, the bus ride is free), view the current prices on: https://www.yourstirling.com/see-do/the-wallace-monument/opening-times-prices/
If you got the time, take it for a short strol around Abbey Craig:
Well hidden between the slopes of the River Forth lies the ruin of once monestry Cambuskenneth Abbey. From afar you can spot the bell tower which is the only part remaining, the rest has been reduced to the foundations.
And now a special treat for historics between you. There is a stone on the premises which is easy to overlook, but when you spot it you might want to know the following: after William Wallace has been quartered his body parts where spread all over the country and spiked on bridges. One of those bridges was Stirling Bridge. Since Wallace had family connections to the monks at Cambuskenneth Abbey they couldn’t just leave this piece of their nation hero there. So in a nightly mission it is told that the monks stole the body part and buried it within the churchyard. If the bushes weren’t that high around the abbey, these days, you would enjoy a spectecular view right up to Scots Monument when following the direction the stone points to.
If you got some more time enjoy those views to Cambuskenneth Abbey and explore a small part of Stirling by taking the following route:
Stirling Old Bridge:
I don’t want to break it to you but first thing you should know is, that this bridge isn’t the bridge from the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge. The original bridge was built out of timber and is thought to more likely have been situated a wee bit further up the river.
This stone bridge has been built in the late 1400s early 1500s, but there was evidence of a way older timber bridge found.
The battlegrounds don’t change just cause the bridge was a few hundred meters further upstream but for the truth it has to be said that this is most likely not the same bridge (not even on the precise same spot).
Just a little walk from Stirling Bridge up Gowan Hill to visit the Beheading Stone, as the name suggests it is said to have been used for beheading people, small traces of its once purpose are still to be seen, such is a carving on top of the stone.
From the Beheading Stone on you can take the Back Walk around Castle Hill to the church of Holy Rude our next stop. But first enjoy this walk with spectacular views towards Ben Ledi and the Trossachs. As a small tip I would suggest you take this walk around sunset. If you got more days to spend in Stirling. The magic of Scotland will appear to you around every corner then.
On this walk you can also enjoy views down to King’s Knot:
The Church of Holy Rude an amazing place you should have visited. It’s the second oldest building in Stirling and king James VI’s has been crowned in the Church of Holy Rude in Scotland, way before he was crowned Kind of England as well.
The stained glas windows are spectecular to look at while the light is shining through.
Former courtyard townhouse built by John Erskine, Earl of Mar and keeper of Stirling Castle. King James the V’s stayed there and it was used as barracks during the 1715 Jacobite Rising.
There is no entry fee and Mar’s Wark is opened all year round, so if you pass it on your visit to Stirling, take a few minutes to wander through the ruins of Mar’s Wark and imagine what this place must have looked like a few hundred years back if even King’s stayed there.
Just in front of Stirling Castle stands the statue of Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) Scotlands King from 1306 till his death in 1329. Maybe he is best known for the Battle of Bannockburn but more about that later.
First we will pay Stirling Castle, home to many scottish kings and queens, a visit. The worlds oldest football has been found in the castles walls and is said to have been Mary Queen of Scots (you can find it today in Stirlings Smiths Art Gallery and Museum, another spot to visit if you got some more time) https://www.smithartgalleryandmuseum.co.uk/
The castle grounds lay on Castle Hill and include several buildings. The most easy to spot is the great hall which has been rebuilt and due to that still has its bright golden colour also known as Kings Gold.
It is managed by Historic Scotland and open all year round. For further information about the opening times and prices check:
This battlefield is a nice place to spend the a sunny day and get to know a lot of things about the battle. I personally didn’t (because I was there quite early) but you should pay the Battle of Bannockburn VisitorCenter a visit.
The battle has been fought on the 23 and 24 June 1314 and the scottish army under Robert Bruce, King of Scots and with it won the first war of independence.
For opening times and prices see belows link (the battlefield itself is free of charge and openened all year round):
If you’d like to enjoy a nice walk with nice views towards Stirling and across the battlefield I would recomend to take the following walk:
With this we will end our one day trip through Stirling. There are many more places surrounding Stirling to pay a visit so if you plan a trip there make sure to stay a few days to visit more places, like the small village of Doune, with Doune Castle and Deannston Distillery.
It’s a great way to enjoy views down on Stirling and the Firth of Forth and get some easy excercise. Dumyat counts to Scotlands Sub2000ers and isn’t to hard to do. Walkhighlands offers you two different routes up the mountain and both of them are wonderful to explore. If you love an adventure don’t mind the clouds (providing you are well trained and have good coordinating skils just as having checked how the weather is going to be, if it get’s to bad choose another activity for the day).
As an extra tip I would suggest to take https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fife-stirling/dumyat.shtml this route up and the other one down https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fife-stirling/dumyat-blairlogie.shtml. It leaves you at Blairlogie in the end but it’s easy to catch a bus back to Stirling.
If you choose to follow my suggestion please make sure to be careful when walking down the glen since it can be very slippery when wet and the path is steep. (I’d suggest to only do this in dry weather conditions and when you are wearing good trekking shoes)
If you want to get some steps in and spend another nice day in Stirling make sure to take a look on the following route, as it offers good views over Stirling and is a nice change of scenery to all the historic places we have been visiting on this virtual tour. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fife-stirling/stirling-university.shtml
Stirling Highland Games
The Stirling Highland Games or in general Highland Games, you should have seen them at least once when been in Scotland. I personally went to the Stirling Highland Games on my first weekend in Scotland. It was wonderful to watch those people showing their heritage and love for traditions. (careful, you should be prepared since the grounds can get very muddy when it starts raining, but even if it does rain, keep your hopes up cause if I learned one thing bout Scotland it is that even if it rains on a certain point the sky will turn blue and the sun will shine again)
As a small request towards you I would like you to help promote this page if you liked this article and want to read more about Scotlands incredible beauty, history and nature.
But most of all what I need to ask of you is that you always take your litter with you, wherever you are. Gowan Hill for example is such a beautiful spot but yet some people leave there litter there and that’s a real shame. Someone who inspires me with his love for Scotland always sais to enjoy the places but leave nothing behind but your footstep. Leave every place as you found it, so that others can enjoy its beauty as well.
Be noted that I will post especially for the more historic places, on some point more precise descriptions but for now I just want to show you some places you should have seen.
*Please note that all the pictures where either taken by me or my family memebers and are not to be used for the readers purposes without my consent!