The day after we arrived in Scotland we took the train to Stirling Castle. The people working the ticket counters are amazingly helpful. We ended up getting a groupsaver ticket because there were three of us. With all the train travel that we did, this savings was a welcome surprise.
Besides staring at the beautiful countryside, I sent the kids some Snapchat filtered pics.
Walking, Walking, Walking.
The walk from the train station from Stirling Castle is VERY steep. I wish I had captured photos of it, but I was too busy getting there. My aunt asked a gentleman if we were heading the right way (she didn’t always trust my map 😉 ) and he told us “Up, up, up. You’ll know that you’ve made it when your thighs are burning.” My mom mentioned that we must already be there then. We had a good laugh and continued up, up, up.
My mother showed me what info is stored on my health app on my iPhone. I’ve never even looked at it before! I don’t typically have my phone with me when I exercise, but it happened to be our map so was with me at all times. From the time we landed at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday until we went to bed the following Tuesday, I logged 47.5 miles, 106,211 steps, and 170 floors!
I did not expect my thighs to burn because while my calves and arches will talk to me on long uphill hikes, my thighs are usually good. For example, when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth (which I looked back at my app and found that I climbed 84 floors), my thighs did not burn.
We finally came to a sign telling the direction of the castle and the church. You can see the Church of the Holy Rude up ahead. We did not buy tickets to see Stirling Castle prior to heading to Scotland. The weather was forecast to rain the entire week and I wanted to play it by ear as to whether or not we would go. I popped into the tourist information area and bought tickets there. They don’t offer a discount, but they are fast-track tickets, meaning that you don’t have to wait in line at the castle to purchase them. This would be especially helpful as summer progresses and the lines can be an hour or more.
The road turns to the right by the Church of the Holy Rude and travels upward to Stirling Castle.
Prior to beginning to study my ancestral history, my only knowledge of Stirling Castle was from Braveheart. After beginning to study my ancestral history, I learned that this movie is historically inaccurate (to be fair, I’m sure that was talked about at the time, but I was 17 when it came out and actually fell asleep in the theater because it was so long. By the time I watched it many years later, I wasn’t fact checking movies).
I have mentioned that the majority of my traced Scottish heritage is from areas near Glasgow. I do have a 5th great-grandmother, Esther Palmer, listed as being born in Stirling around 1777. But I have not yet discovered why she would have been born in Stirling. Her father, Alexander Palmer, was a coal miner. Her mother’s name was Nelly Shaw and I believe they were both born in Renfrew, Scotland. By the 1841 census, Esther Palmer is living in Redtown, Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland, where she would live until her death on October 12, 1861.
Stirling Castle was built upon Stirling Sill, an outcropping of quartz-dolerite that is about 350 million years old, above the River Forth.
The meeting place between the Highlands and the Lowlands.
The first record of Stirling Castle is 1110 when King Alexander I dedicated a chapel there.
Most of us have heard of Stirling Castle because of the role it played in the Scottish Wars of Independence. The Battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn taking place nearby. During the Wars of Independence, which were civil wars as well as between Scotland and England, the castle changed hands eight times over 50 years.
There is much history to be held at Stirling Castle.
The childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots.
The crowning of Kings and Queens.
And lesser known tales of old.
One such tale is that of James Damien.
In 1507, James Damien, who was an alchemist (a precursor to the modern day scientist) donned a chicken suit and declared that he would fly to France. He leaped from the battlements, flapped his wings, and plummeted into a muck-heap below. He survived with only a broken leg. However, he blamed the type of feathers used on his dramatic descent.
If only he could see the flying mechanisms of today!
Walking along the castle wall, you could see what a fortress Stirling Castle was, set high above the surrounding landscape.
We spent most of an afternoon exploring Stirling Castle. We didn’t make it to Doune Castle during this trip, and while we missed the opening hours of the Church of the Holy Rude, we did wander around its graveyard for some time.
Even though the sun didn’t shine, the rain only sprinkled. I wandered around soaking in the vast amount of history held in just this tiny fragment of land in relation to the whole of the Earth.
Have you traveled to Stirling Castle before?
Or have you visited Scotland?
Oh, and the day in Stirling and upon returning to Edinburgh… I logged 9 miles that day. 20,175 steps and 28 floors.
In case you are wondering, my thighs never burned that day. But after 3 days of pilates and yoga, my quads and glutes are talking loudly.
Those plié squats get me every time!
Let your light shine!