Stirling Castle

The Scots liked to build their castles up high.  Remember how I talked about Edinburgh Castle being on top of a large hill?  Well, Stirling Castle was no different.  At least we didn’t have to walk up this hill.

Located in Stirling, Scotland, Stirling Castle is “one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland” (thanks, Wikipedia!).  The castle was the site of many sieges and changed hands many time.  Basically I went to see it because it’s a castle and I love castles.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace

Even though castle admission wasn’t included in the price of our tour Kristen and I paid to get in.  Part of it was because we were here so we might as well go in.  It was a couple of pounds cheaper than Edinburgh Castle and a lot less crowded, so that’s a plus.

We didn’t pay much attention to the history, we mostly just wandered around the castle grounds and took pictures.

Overlooking Stirling.

Overlooking Stirling.

I mostly imagined what it would be like to rule over all the little people, and live in an awesome castle.

The castle walls.

The castle walls.

We didn’t go inside many places – mostly we walked around the outer walls.  It was fun, especially since it was a nice day outside and it wasn’t crowded.

The website says that you should give yourself 2 hours to explore the castle.  Well, we only had 1.  It limited how far we went in the castle, but at least we still saw cannons!

…shoot, those pictures are on Kristen’s camera.  We saw a couple of guys taking the obligatory “this cannon is my junk” picture.  It was pretty funny because they were trying to do it without people noticing, but it was super obvious what they were up to.

I found cannons!  (just no pictures of me with the cannons)

I found cannons! (just no pictures of me with the cannons)

We went inside a couple of buildings, seeing a few rooms (decorated to portray what they’d have looked like in days of yore). 

Living quarters.

Living quarters.

We also saw a suit of armor, the great dining hall (dammit, that picture’s with Kristen as well…), and the kitchen area – where we learned about the eating habits of the castle’s former residents.

We didn’t know anything about castle tours, but we stumbled upon a tour while we were inside one of the buildings, so they must offer them.  Kristen and I didn’t pay much attention to the history of the castle.  I’ve glanced through the wikipedia page, but a lot of it is pretty dry.  Here are some interesting things:

  • In 1291 Edward I put  John Balliol in charge of Stirling Castle hoping he would be a “puppet” ruler, but John refused to obey Edward’s demands, so Edward invaded Scotland and took the Castle back.
  • After the Battle of Stirling Bridge (featuring William Wallace), the English were starved out of the castle by the Scots (a disadvantage of being on a giant hill).
  • The Scots abandoned the castle after the English won the Battle of Falkirk and the English took over the castle again.
  • Robert the Bruce attacked the castle and Edward was forced to surrender.
  • Edward came back years later with siege engines.  The Scots surrendered, but apparently Edward made them go back in the castle because he hadn’t yet used “Warwolf“.  He then proceeded to destroy the castle’s gatehouse with said siege engine.

Seriously – owning that castle was like a giant game of tug-of-war between the Scots and the English.  Imagine a game of Hot Potato, except with a giant castle on a hill.

Now enjoy some pictures!

Looking out at the car park, pretending I'm an archer.

Looking out at the car park, pretending I’m an archer.

Looking out at Stirling, and the Wallace Monument (far away - that tall building on top of the hill)

Looking out at Stirling, and the Wallace Monument (far away – that tall building on top of the hill)

Everyone loves a covered bridge.

Everyone loves a covered bridge.

Inside the walls.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Inside the walls. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

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