If, on a trip to Scotland, you’ve only enough time to visit one castle then you couldn’t pick better than to aim for Stirling. Looking out to the Ochils and the Carselands, and high above the forth, the castle and rock upon which it stands has seen more action than most. The Battle of Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn and Sheriffmuir to name but a few key battles, have all been played out on the lands that lie below.
Stirling was, after all, the “Key to the Kingdom” and, with its Royal Castle, one of the most important places in the country.
While many old towns have succumbed to the modern and had their historic buildings slowly eroded away by development, Stirling has proudly held on to her past.
One of my favourite walks in Old Stirling is to string together many of these fine historic buildings Argyll’s Lodging, Mar’s Wark, Cowane’s Hospital and the Church of the Holy Rude, not forgetting to stop and say hello to “the Puggy” (Stirling’s affectionate name for the wee unicorn that sits atop its mercat cross).
The walk then takes me down St John’s Street and Spittal Street Robert Spittal was tailor to King James IV – returning by the “Back Walk” beneath the old Town Wall. Stirling has one of the most complete town walls of any town in Scotland.
The biggest mistake you can make on this walk is simply not to allow enough time. There are interesting tales and stories to be discovered virtually every step of the way.
You’ll be able to see more of Willie’s visit to Stirling in the July 18 issue of the “Friend”.