On March 13 we got up and drove to Stirling, a town in the middle of Scotland. There was still very much snow on the ground, so there were not many people there. I enjoyed this a lot. Here is a picture of the front of the castle, from the parking lot. We took this picture when we came back later in the week when the snow had melted.
To the right, out of this picture this is a statue of Robert the Bruce. Robert the Bruce was one of the very famous early kings of Scotland. He was made king after William Wallace died, who I will talk about in a little bit. Here is the statue in the snow looking over the town of Stirling:
Bruce and his father were on the side of the English at the beginning of the war, but they switched when the Scots won. When he decided to finally be on the Scot's side, he was continually being beaten in the battles. He tried seven times to drive out the English and free the Scots, and seven times he was defeated. When he was in hiding in a cave, he watched a spider on the wall trying to spin a web. It tried seven times, and the eighth time is succeeded. Therefore he was encouraged to try again and he succeeded. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. It was taken a few days after the previous one:
Here are some pictures from inside the castle:
First a picture of me in front of the Forework built for King James IV in the years around 1500. This is from the first time we went there:
Some guns on the Grand Battery, which is part of the Outer Close which is one of the two main courtyards.There where statues of Kings on the wall of the palace which was built for James V and was started in 1538.
During one of the sieges of the castle, some of the statues were knocked out of place:
We video-taped (or thought we did, more on that later) one of the speeches I did to our family on Scottish history. Here are a few good scenic pictures we took at various times from there:
After spending 4 hours there, we went to Wallace Monument, a monument to the Scottish hero William Wallace. When we got there, they were not selling tickets at the bottom of the hill, because the walkway was icey and slippery, and many people were turning back before they got to the top, but the Horns pressed onward and upward.
At the tower there were three levels.
There was a room about William Wallace's history. They had Wallace's sword in a case:
There was a room of Scottish heroes, and one about building the monument. When you climbed 220 feet and 246 steps you reached the crown, or top. It was very cold and windy there since it was sleeting, snowing, and freezing rain. I got really cold when I did my speech on the battle of Stirling Bridge out there.
Stirling Bridge was Sir William Wallace's first large engagement with the English. He had fought in several small battles, one of which we visited later. The English held Stirling Castle and Wallace was on Abbey Craig, the place where the Wallace monument now stands. The English decided to attack the Scots over a narrow bridge. Here is a picture of the battleground: (the old bridge is right next to the new bridge, which is in the middle of the picture).
Wallace waited until some of the English went over the bridge, and then attacked. He drove them into the loop of the river and destroyed them. The other English which had not crossed retreated back to England. This was one of my favorite battles. I enjoyed this day of our Scotland vacation.