Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
We spent much of our last day in Scotland walking the streets of Stirling, shopping, eating, and visiting the castle.
The city is built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, and walking from the town center to the castle was a bit of a hike.
It was great.
Stirling Castle was first recorded in 1107 when King Alexander I endowed a chapel on the site. A castle was built at the top of the rise of Castle Hill, with 250ft cliffs bordering three sides, making it an ideal defensive position. It was handed over to King Henry II of England in 1174 as part of the ransom for William the Lion, and again in 1296 after the Scottish garrison fled. But the English were defeated at the Battle of Stirling Bridge the following year, and Stirling Castle was once again under Scottish rule. The following years would find the castle passed back and forth between Scotland and England, and in 1651 the Parliamentarian Army took the castle away from the royalists. Prince Charlie led an unsuccessful siege against the castle in 1746. Not a good year for him.
The oldest surviving part of the castle, the North Gate, was built in 1381, and the forework or front of the castle was built in 1500. The Great Hall was completed in 1503 and given a coat of limestone wash, making it quite different in appearance from the rest of the castle.
Building the royal palace was begun in 1540. Outer defenses were begun in 1708 and completed in 1714.
From the assassination of William, 8th Earl of Douglas, by James II and his courtiers, to the candle that set fire to the bed in which Mary, Queen of Scots, was sleeping, and the attempt by John Damian to fly from the wall (and landed in the dungheap below), Stirling Castle has seen much intrigue, victory, and defeat.
Below are some photos of James V's royal palace, built in the 1540s.
Of course there was a garden. Here are a few photos of the Queen Anne Garden.
I also enjoyed the kitchens. The recreation was great, and the information was eye-opening (to me, anyway).
No tour would be complete without shopping and food. I lunched on soup and a cheese scone at the charming Unicorn Cafe. Thorfinn entertained himself at the Castle Gift Shop.
This is where I talk about things in my life outside of writing. Mostly gardening and dogs.
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