Day Two: Coos Day at Stirling Castle
Day Two morning sees me back at EDI for a meet-up with my sister Gail and niece Christina. Then we popped over to Hertz for our tiny but fantastic bright blue Mercedes rental car. We be stylin' now!
With C'tina behind the wheel, we tootle north and west on the M9 to Stirling for our first sightsee and overnight.
Stirling Castle rises high above the town of Stirling, strategically located on a knobby crag. Legend has it that King Arthur snatched the castle from the Saxons, but solid proof shows a fortress dating from about 1100 CE. The buildings presently on the site date variously from the 15th and 16th centuries with King James V's addition a striking warm amber, in sharp contrast to the more somber, older grays. http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/
I was especially interested in the Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry exhibition, reproductions which were woven here over a number of years. The original set of 7 tapestries was likely woven around 1500 in Brussels to celebrate the marriage of Anne of Brittany to Louis XII. Originally depicting a pagan story, the Hunt of the Unicorn was co-opted by Christians to tell a story of Christ's relationship with the Virgin Mary.
The original tapestries now hang in the Queen's palace. The replicas were faithfully woven using traditional techniques and dyes that would have been available at the 1400-1500s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt_of_the_Unicorn
Robert the Bruce ruled from this spot, and across the valley you can make out the William Wallace monument.
After a lovely castle café lunch, we hopped back in the car and crossed the valley to the Wallace monument site. William Wallace was a Highland patriot and martyr who fought for Scotland's independence in 1297. We were treated to an appearance by the patriot himself (a highly skilled reenactor) who drew us into the Wallace story. http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/ After a blustery visit, we returned to our lodging for the night, the Castle Croft B&B, tucked right underneath the castle itself. Stunning views over the castle's hunting fields, we saw our first coos of the trip, the ubiquitous Highland cattle. Our room was lovely, spotlessly clean, and we looked forward to our first Scottish breakfast next morning! http://castlecroft-uk.co.uk/