Yesterday HD and I had a day out in Stirling – despite living here 3.5 years I’d never been there (except accidentally, when I missed a turning on the way to Edinburgh so had to drive a slightly more scenic route) (that was the only time HD had been there too). The castle is said to be as impressive as Edinburgh Castle, so we went to find out.
On the way to the castle, we walked past the wonderfully named Church of the Holy Rude. This is where James VI was crowned, and John Knox preached there. There are some more details of the history of the church here.
From there we went on to the castle, which (like Edinburgh) does have a very impressive location on top of a sheer rock. This second picture also shows another view from the castle walls.
It wasn’t the cheapest day out in the world, but we got lots for our money, including a very entertaining tour of the castle, and another tour of Argyll’s Lodgings just down the hill. Here are a selection of photos – firstly one of HD on the castle walls, then from the Castle’s Great Hall (I’m really pleased with that one), then one of the Chapel Royal (where James VI was baptised) and Argyll’s Lodgings. By the time we got there my camera batteries died, so there are no photos from inside the house, although I did scrounge some batteries from HD later so there are a few more view photos to come:
Just outside the castle was this very bizarre tree. I thought at first this was a nest of some description, but when we looked closer it appeared to be very alive and growing, so I wonder if it was some weird aberration as the result of an infection or something?
The weather (which had been a bit miserable all day) brightened up just as we were leaving (typical!), and it made all the difference. Here’s a view from the castle over towards the William Wallace monument:
The next two are of some of the stonework on the gate of Argyll’s Lodging, and of the Tolbooth and unicorn statue (which is apparently where the town authorities would make announcements) in the Old Town:
Finally, this isn’t the greatest picture because of the reflections from the inside of the train, but was such a strange experience I had to include it. On the train on the way back we were getting the usual Scotland “all four seasons in one day”, and as a result saw several rainbows. This one was so bright and close – I could even see the end (though not the pot of gold sadly!), but the really strange thing was that as the train was hurtling forward, the rainbow was following along with it. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was just bizarre!