Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stirling Castle

We all have those opportunities in our lives that we get really excited about and then think, "That's too good to be true."  And lots of times those too-good-to-be-true things don't happen.  I often lower my expectations so that I'm not disappointed.  Oh, but when it does happen!  We should be really happy in it, don't you think? 

When our new friend Lisa offered a free 3 days in their time share in Scotland via Facebook on a first-comment basis I was second in line.  And the phrase "Christmas in Scotland" just sounded so out of this world to me that I was just contenting myself with imagining what that would be like without thinking it would actually happen to me.  You can imagine our excitement when we were able to go!

This was our second Christmas in England, and I was excited to try to do some of the same things we did last year and make them new traditions, but doing this also seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.  It's not every year that you have the freedom to take an impromptu Christmas adventure with your own little family.  And for Americans, it's certainly not every day that you are within driving distance of Scotland.

The really cool monument pictured above is the William Wallace Monument that looks over the town of Stirling.  Stirling was just a small stop on our drive to the place we were staying so we didn't climb to the top of the monument.  We heard from our friends that the wind made it feel quite dangerous!  As it was, when we stopped at Stirling Castle there were some walks that were closed due to the high winds.  We enjoyed looking at the monument from afar.  The hills look so otherworldly and like a painting to me.

The bridge is so beautiful, isn't it?

A statue of Robert the Bruce stands outside the castle walls.  I think the name Robert the Bruce is just about the manliest name and moniker you could have.

There were some gorgeous views all around the castle, and inside there were a lot of activities for the kids teaching about castle life as well as historical information for the adults.

Stirling Castle has a very long history, dating back to the 1100s.

It was cold and growing dark or I would have loved to spend some time exploring Stirling more, especially the area around the castle and one or two bookstores I spied online.

James and I had a nice wander amongst the cannons while Ella and KJ explored the chapel built in 1594 for the baptism of Prince Henry.  We met back up in the Great Hall.  Great Halls are probably my favorite part of a castle.  You would think they would be extremely cold and cavernous, but they usually have several massive fireplaces spread throughout the room like this one did.  I loved being there at Christmas time and seeing their tree.

Mary Queen of Scots celebrated the baptism of her son, James VI here at Christmas 1566.

The rooms of the palace we walked through with their brightly painted wall designs were in a very different style to other castles we've visited.

There's also a museum for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regiment at Stirling Castle, which was really interesting to walk through, although it always feels slightly impossible to digest all the information.  I did very much enjoy these guidelines for regiment members wishing to take a bride.

The bride must "prove to having received a fair education and can do sewing with ease and [be] acquainted with the practise of plain cookery."

I hope to be able to visit Stirling again.  Here you can see the sun going down at 3:41 p.m. as we made our exit.


  1. I love these, Lynn!! Scotland is definitely on my to-see list for some future time :)

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! There's so much to see; I feel like we just got a small glimpse!