William Wallace – Scotland’s Beloved Son

Glasgow is only ½ hour away from Stirling, so I knew that I was in no rush today. I knew that the day before I hadn’t had time to check out the Wallace Monument, so I left my bags at the hostel and made my way there. On recommendation from a local, I headed first to Stirling University and wandered around the campus on the way to the monument. I love universities, so this was a great walk.

The Wallace Monument is tall. Very tall. 246 steps tall. But, it has great history and even better views. So, I made my way to the base and began heading up the stairs.Wallace Monument

On the first level was history – of Wallace himself and how he came to be a local hero and legend. And there were lots of flags as well. A video was playing with even more information and history of other people involved in the battles at this time. And the sword of Wallace as well.

wallace sword

 

I hung out here for awhile, caught up on my history, then headed upstairs for the next level; the Hall of Heroes. This level had tons of busts of Scottish heroes throughout time – from John Knoxs to

Robert Burns to William Murdoch to James Watt – they were all here.

Stirling Busts

 

How many of these Scottish heroes can you name?

The next level up was an overview of the history of the Monument itself. From the decision as to where to build it (should it be in Glasgow? In Edinburgh? In Stirling?) to the trouble it had in raising the final amounts of money, to the alleged corruption of the building team and finally to its lack of fanfare when it finally opened. But, here it is and it remains a big draw for Scots and tourists alike.

Finally, there was only a few more steps to the top. Where wild winds and great scenery awaited me.

River Forth from Wallace Monument

The River Forth winds it’s way through..

Stirling (168) Stirling (171)

The University built at the bottom of the hill. Who would be able to concentrate with so much beauty just outside the window?

Stirling (173)

Stirling (175)

Eventually, I made my way back down to the bottom, went back through the university and decided to grab a quick lunch – I had been told that universities had good, cheap lunches that actually had vegetables! When I got inside the cafeteria, the line up was crazy… I almost left. Then, I spotted someone knitting. And another person. And then I remembered that there was a knitting camp going on here that I had thought about coming to – like a beacon, I had found the knitters and I was at home amongst my people. J It was worth waiting in line for good food and hanging out with some cool people that I had something in common with. They were all loving their courses and had come from all over to attend. What a great way to spend lunch.

I headed back to Stirling, grabbed my stuff and made my way back to Glasgow. Lo and behold, as soon as I got off the train, I heard the sound of bagpipes. And knew that I was back in Glasgow. Piping Live was happening all week around the city, but was based in Georges Square, right outside the train station. I quickly checked into the hostel and made my way back for a  drink and to listen to some pipes, some ceidlh music, and watch some dancing. A whole new town and a whole new feel. The festival was here and people were excited. I spent the evening wandering around the city with some friends from the hostel and just getting a feel for Glasgow – my home for the next couple days.

 

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