The morning started with the kids in Mum and Dad’s bed watching family and friends from Mt Lofty Football Club win their second premiership. Congrats to Bec Northcott on her 50th game for the club. Sophie is missing the team and thinking of joining the AFL Glasgow Sharks.
We then piled into the car loaded with snacks and off we went to meet a friend who was giving us a tour of ye ol’ Stirling.
It was a nice drive through the countryside. We just had enough car battery to reach Stirling and as we approached, the castle looked impressive on its pedestal.
We then pulled off our first park on the wrong side of the road, we’ll have to get good at the right-hand reverse parallel parking.
We met up with friend of the blog Curious George and strolled through the Old Town. Eloise jumped at George’s suggestion of a breakfast roll to begin the tour. We walked uphill past the Old Town Jail and Holy Rude Church.
The Church of the Holy Rude (Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais na crois naoimh) is the medieval parish church of Stirling, Scotland. It is named after the Holy Rood, a relic of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified. The church was founded in 1129 during the reign of David I, but the earliest part of the present church dates from the 15th century. As such it is the second oldest building in Stirling after Stirling Castle, parts of which date from the later 14th century. The chancel and tower were added in the 16th century.
At the top, we reached Stirling Castle. George could not believe all the cars in the car park, the tourists are now returning. There is usually a fantastic view out northeast over the River Forth towards The National Wallace Monument, but when we arrived it was foggy and drizzly.
Stirling Castle, is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures remain from the fourteenth century, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century. There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle, including several during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with the last being in 1746.
While we were at the top the clouds began to clear. If you zoom in you can just see The National Wallace Monument between Ellie and Soph, about 1.5 miles away.
A quick selfie with Robert the Bruce and then we strolled back through the Old Town trying not to slip on the cobbled road. There is something beautiful about walking around the old towns in the drizzle, it feels like it adds to the character.
Robert I (11 July 1274 – 7 June 1329), popularly known as Robert the Bruce (Medieval Gaelic: Roibert a Briuis), was King of Scots from 1306 to his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent country and is now revered in Scotland as a national hero.
We then all jumped into the car for a short drive. George was curious why Australia does not park on the wrong side of the road, even though it is called the wrong side of the road for a reason. The Aussie beats were pumping and after some questionable navigating by Curious George we arrived at The National Wallace Monument.
From the car park The National Wallace Monument reminded me of Barad-dûr from The Lord of the Rings.
After another quick happy snap we started the climb. Eloise was slow out of the blocks but once she got overtaken by a small dog she stepped up a few gears in pursuit. There were lots of wood carvings along the way to entertain the kids and Sophie.
When we got to the top of the hill Soph admitted to her strong dislike of staircases and happily admired the view with the kids. George and Liam powered on up the blind steep narrow helical staircase.
There were three platforms on the way up, containing information about Scotland’s historic figures and interactive displays where you could design your own shield. The dog at the bottom was to symbolise Delilah, the closest option they had, and who doesn’t love a dragon.
After 246 stairs we made it to the top and entered the open rooftop beer garden which had breathtaking panoramic views.
The skies had cleared, and it was the ideal spot for George to point out landmarks. The mountains looked spectacular and you could clearly see back to Stirling Castle.
The National Wallace Monument is a tower standing on the shoulder of the Abbey Craig, a hilltop overlooking Stirling in Scotland. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, a 13th- and 14th-century Scottish hero.
What goes up must come down, and Eloise was going down at pace. There certainly was no need for the shuttle bus on the way down either.
It was a short drive to Stirling’s best fish and chips shop. Drunk on power we were now just parking where we felt like it. Unfortunately, it was closed during the day so we went for pizzas, just for a change, at Corrieri’s Cafe. This could very easily be a pizza and burger blog.
Over lunch, we spoke about UK and Australian sports. After poorly describing what AFL was like, George left with the impression of something like quidditch but without the flying broomsticks. We are thinking we’ll have to host an AFL Grand Final party.
It was then back to the car and cruising around while George pointed out some more city sites, including the Kilted Kangaroo pub.