Friday 24 July – Stirling

We set off this morning to make our way from Callander to Edinburgh via a couple of stops on the way.

First stop was Doune Castle which, not all that surprisingly, is in Doune, only a few miles down the road from Callander on the way back to Stirling.  As part of the ticket (well, we used our Historic Scotland pass) an audio tour device is offered.  Well, why not.  How entertaining was that audio tour!  It was read by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame because Doune Castle was used as a location in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  A very entertaining recording interspersed with bits from the film.  It was worth the stop just to listen to the audio tour!!  Oh, and the castle is interesting too.  It is a 14th century courtyard castle that was built for the Duke of Albany.  Back in Victorian times it was decided to undertake restoration works at the castle and so it isn’t a ruin.   Bear took a seat and pretended to be a guest at a fancy do…

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Then hid in a fireplace…

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After leaving Doune we headed to Stirling just a few miles down the road and Stirling Castle.  Stirling Castle is atop a huge rock overlooking the plains and it was certainly a strategic position.  The Old Town is built on the hill leading up to the Castle and we took a walk around there before heading into the Castle.  First of all it was lunch time and we found a little tearooms that was set up in a 16th Century house that was the home of the 2nd husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

After lunch we continued down the hill and took a little look around at the closest shops and buildings and what did I spy but a sewing shop.  They sold some patchwork fabric and I thought I’d best take a look.  No fabric was purchased but I did find four patchwork/quilting magazines to keep me happy for a time.  Well, not four different magazine titles – two titles, two editions of each so four magazines in total.  Well, there were July & August editions of each one and I couldn’t decide so, yes, let’s just be ridiculous and buy all four.  Well, it worked for me.

Walking back up the hill (mountain maybe? it is Very Steep) to the Castle checking out the buildings we passed the Old High School which is now a hotel.  Bear tried to gain admittance to get an education…

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It failed.

Next up was Stirling Castle itself.  When we were going into the castle a guided tour of Argyle’s Lodgings was offered (no extra cost involved) so we took that up and put our names down.  We then had just a bit less than 1 1/2 hours to amuse ourselves checking out the castle before we had to be back for the tour.   Bear decided to play being a watchman (watchperson?)…

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Amongst other things there is a project to recreate a series of 16th century tapestries that will hang in the Palace Apartments.  There will be seven tapestries in total and four have been completed.  It is possible to view the tapestry weavers at work.  The tapestries are huge and the one they are currently working on is about 1/3 done.  It was very interesting to watch the weaver at work.  The four that are completed are hanging in the chapel for now… 

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Aren’t they just amazing!  The originals hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  The project is a 12 year project and I think they have about four years to go before they will be completed.

At the appointed time we went to the meeting place for the guided tour and proceeded back down the hill to Argyles Lodging which is a 17th century merchant’s townhouse.  The building is set up as it would have been during that time and it was a very interesting and informative tour.

Then it was time to drive across to Edinburgh and find our accommodation for the next three nights.  We are staying in a self-contained two bedroom flat in an area called West Harbour near the Port of Leith.  It is a bit like Docklands in that it is a redevelopment of a port area and apartments are being built.  The apartment blocks aren’t skyscrapers though.  There is a 24 hour supermarket within walking distance which is very handy.  The small hotel I rang didn’t have any rooms left but they could offer the flat so we took that up.  Unfortunately although the hotel has wi fi the flat doesn’t.  We’ve also discovered the washing machine leaks so that means the plan to get laundry done has to be slightly modified (read find a laundromat!).  Oh well, these things can be overcome.

Until next time…

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Posted on July 27, 2009, in Scotland, Trip. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. OOh.. Bear sure is having some adventures, wonder what he will choose for his next role.

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