We visited Stirling Castle on a quick day trip from our friend’s place in Glasgow. It was only a short drive, however with the sunlight hours being so limited in Scotland during the middle of winter, this was all we managed to fit into a single day.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0913The castle holds a prominent position upon the hill, looking very rugged and imposing, and really standing out amongst the houses and farmlands that are now in the plains below. To me, it looks every bit of what I expect of a Scottish castle.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0915 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0921The view from the castle is almost as good, with stunning vistas of some of the barren hills in the Scottish Highlands, as well as the equally imposing Wallace Monument.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0925Stirling-Castle-RCH_0945Up close, the castle itself was a mix of styles, and to my eyes was neither pretty/romantic, nor imposing. We joined a free tour of the castle, with an incredibly enthusiastic guide (who loved to really emphasise the BOOM of the cannons, to the surprise/shock of all around), but being the middle of winter, it was freezing standing around in the frigid winds atop the hill.

Which made it all the more pleasant when we went inside the buildings, as not only were we shrouded in warmth, but we were surrounded by the kind of beauty normal reserved for royalty (funnily enough).

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0934 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0936The Great Hall was exactly that, and you could only imagine the types of events that took place inside. The room was enormous and the boat-like roof was exceptional. It’s hard to believe that earlier in the 20th Century this building was used as barracks for the army.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0940 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0941Next door was the smaller, but far grander Palace, with no shortage of carvings and some enormous tapestries (that surely took an entire family several generations to complete). Sadly the character actor wouldn’t let me hold/touch the sword – I’m trustworthy.

It didn’t take all that long to see the Castle, but with the aforementioned lack of daylight hours, we were rapidly running out of time.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0952 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0955Stirling-Castle-RCH_0949 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0962As the sun was dipping low on the horizon, we made our way through the graveyard of the nearby church. I do question the appropriateness of using such a location for an ‘impromptu photoshoot’…

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0969 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0971We made a last ditch effort to visit the Wallace Monument before dark, and this was briefly interrupted by a detour to the Old Stirling Bridge (and slowed even further by some angry local trolls).

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0973 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0975The Monument was closed by the time we arrived, however the free shuttle bus was still running up the hill, so we jumped aboard. Strangely, it doesn’t look as large as it did from the distance – not to say it was unimpressive. It may be sacrilegious/odd to have tried, but I wasn’t able to see up Mr. Wallace’s kilt to verify if the rumours about Scotsmen and underwear were true.

Stirling-Castle-RCH_0977 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0980 Stirling-Castle-RCH_0989We returned to the old town, with streets that were suddenly empty of tourists, and had a quick wonder before the drive back to Glasgow. It was a nice (if cold) stroll down the cobblestoney streets, and I’m glad we took the time for the brief detour.