Stirling, Scotland

I woke up early and headed up the hill to my first stop – The Church of the Holy Rude. It’s been around since the beginning of the 15th century and King James VI (Scotland) / King James I (England),  the son of Mary, Queen of Scots,  was crowned here as an infant.

Stirling

From there, it was a short walk to the top of the hill, and on to Stirling Castle, one of the main reasons I had come here.

Stirling Castle

A lot of renovation was being done, so I couldn’t access part of it, but what I saw was really cool. They are renovating the dining hall, re-creating the tapestries (you can watch the weavers at work on this incredible project), and making sure the structure is solid enough to remain in place for hundreds more years. This is a small model of the castle itself:

small version of stirling cathedral

The stonework of the castle was fascinating to me – to build something that was strong enough to stand up to the weather, hundreds of years, and attacks and to still be standing as a piece of history, architecture and art is a thing of beauty. The views from all around the castle are stunning, looking to the countryside.

Stirling Castle

Tapestries are being recreated in the weaving studio – you can’t take photos inside of this fascinating work, as the weavers are actually working, but here is one of the finished products on the wall in the hall:

Tapestry at Stirling Castle

The process takes 4 years to make a tapestry – from making the scheme / plan, to getting started, to the weaving and finishing. There will be 4 tapestries in all. They are huge, and I stopped for about 40 minutes just to watch them work. There are a number of weavers, but only one at a time.

But the best part is still the amazing views of the country around the castle.

Stirling (60)

My view at lunchtime. I do love holidays!

Stirling (86)

After a late lunch, I joined a walking tour offered by the castle through Argyll’s Lodging, just down the road. This place was the height of fashion for it’s time – in fact, it had some features that were brand new even to the continent at that time. Like wooden stairs (usually they were stone). And a bedroom that was all in purple. Purple was an expensive dye, and therefore you had to be wealthy to have it. To have a whole room in it would have signified great wealth (and since your guests often took a nap in your room, may have been intimidating).

Stirling2

I finished the day by hanging out with a few people from the hostel, making new friends, and enjoying being on the road.

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