I was lucky enough to have an evening free in Stirling on one of the warmest days ever recorded in March.I went for a walk from my hotel up through the Old Town to the grounds of Stirling Castle and then back down again. The one view I didn't see was the classic picture post card view of the castle so I have had to borrow a picture from elsewhere. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stirlingcastle.jpg with thanks to Finlay McWalter
The walk up to the Castle started on King Street at the top of which stands The Athenaeum. This gentlemen's club was designed by William Stirling in 1817. The porch and statue of William Wallace were added in 1859.
Church of the Holy Rood - Begun in the early 15th century, the Holy Rude is one of the few medieval parish churches in Scotland to have escaped the destruction of the Reformation."Holy Rude" means Holy Cross, giving it the same origin as Holyrood in Edinburgh.In 1567 the infant King James VI was crowned here and is thus reputed to be the only church in the United Kingdom other than Westminster Abbey to have held a coronation and still be a living church today.
John Cowanes Hospital is beside the church. John Cowane was a wealthy Stirling merchant and Dean of the Merchant Guild who left funds for this alms house Originally known as Cowane's Hospital, it was built between 1637 and 1649. For many years the building was used as the Guildhall where the Merchants gathered for meetings and dinners. Later the building was used as a schoolhouse and a hospital during epidemics.
Views out over the River Forth towards the west and the Wallace Monument from the car park at Stirling Castle
The Wallace Monument is a is a 67-metre (220 ft) sandstone tower, built in the Victorian Gothic style tower to commemorate Sir William Wallace. It stands on the Abbey Craig above Cambuskenneth Abbey, from which Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The tower was completed in 1869 to the designs of architect John Thomas Rochead.
Also in the picture is Old Stirling Bridge which was built around 1500 and was the lowest bridging point over the River Forth for almost four centuries.
A magnificent statue of Robert the Bruce (or Robert I) stands in what is now the car park outside Stirling Castle. He was King of Scotland 1306 to 1329 and is famous for victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In the distance (centre right) can be seen the Wallace Monument.
Two views of the Drummond Pleasure Ground which forms part of The Old Cemetary between the Church and the Castle. This area was laid out in 1862/62 by the evangelist and nursery man, William Drummond as a setting for the Star Pyramid which is a massive sandstone ashlar pyramid. There are no gravestones within Drummond Pleasure Ground other than William Drummond's sarcophagus. See for more http://www.oldtowncemetery.co.uk/.
The King's Knot (viewed from The Old cemetery)is is better known locally, as the Cup and Saucer. Its appearance has probably been by altered by restoration in the 19th century. It comprises an octagonal stepped, grassy mound which dates back to around 1630, when it was planted with box trees and ornamental hedges and formed part of a magnificent formal gardens.
The Tolbooth which faces onto Broad Street was built in 1703-5 to a design by Sir William Bruce (the founder of Scottish Classicism). The original building and the later additions of 1785 and 1811 served as council chambers, courthouse and jail. The Toolbooth now is one of the major music and performing arts venues for Stirling.
The Mercat cross in Broad Street. A Mercat Cross is a Market Cross found in many towns and cities in Scotland. It was erected in the place where e merchants would gather although it was also a site of public proclamations and punishment. Since the Reformation it was more generally a pole with a small statue on the top rather than an actual cross. In Stirling a unicorn known locally as ‘ The Puggy’ sits on top of the pole.
The bottom of Broad Street with its two cannon. The street is a mix of old houses and 20tyh century replacements in the old style.
The Teraces Hotel the following morning, just after an excelent full breakfast including a very tasty slice of black pudding.
The new footbridge over the railway. The bridge opened in May 2009 and links the new Forthside Development with the town centre. For more see http://happypontist.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/forthside-bridge-opens.html
Looking back to Stirling from the footbridge before I caught the train to Edinburgh...
...and a last view of the Wallace Monument in the early afternoon sunlight.