From the movie Braveheart - the last words of William Wallace before his beheading and dismemberment were "Freedom". Knowing it was a movie we can doubt that it was what truly was said - but there is no doubt of this....even as Scotland has remained now united within the UK....there is a strong and enduring sense of individuality. They have a history of "Scottish" descent - not British but Scottish. There is no other place in Scotland that stands for this than the landmark city and castle of STIRLING - SCOTLAND. To try to separate Scotland from Stirling is ludicrous. They are one and the same.
Stirling sits about 32 minutes (driving) from Glasgow and about 50 minutes from Edinburgh. It sits on a ridge between the Scottish Highlands - and Lowlands in the broad expanse of the Scottish plains. The one region of the country where all the lands come together.
As you walk the path to the castle - there is a statue to Robert the Bruce. Memorializing the time that Scotland was a land of "tribes" or families that were under the brutal rule of Edward Longshanks of England. Longshanks was defeated in his conquest and rule over the Scots by Robert the Bruce. Unknown to this day why he was so driven by his desire to rule those lands....none the less - the wars continued for years and the legacy of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are legendary.
I have to thank Mel Gibson for bringing this story to us. I know it was just a movie - a two hour venture trying to capture - entertainment style - an amazing story - but had it not been for that movie other than the Scots and some very worldly travelers we may never have known even a little about it. We tend to focus on our own history - that is one of the reasons I love to travel....learning and experiencing the world of others.
The castle sits on a volcanic perch that overlooks the valleys. It was here that the battles were fought over the lands of Scotland. It was and is said that "Whomever holds Stirling holds Scotland".
Stirling is easy to get to but making your way to the castle can be a bit confusing. We only drove around it three times trying to find a parking space - when it was directly in front of us. Oh well......
The city is quaint and the surrounding lands are spectacular. The Castle is trying to add value to the visit. They are recreating many of the rooms - halls - with elements or reproductions of the eras but what was particularly interesting was learning about the Unicorns !
Stirling is not to be missed. The Castle - the City are wonderful but to see the land - the valley to imagine what it was like to have armies covering the hills to wage war to conquer and expand their lands to live in such a harsh environment but one that is so magnificent and rich in beauty and history.....Scotland chose the right creature to represent itself. Unique formidable and beautiful. Forever Scotland. Land of Unicorn !
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.