We headed out of Inverness and set our GPS to the Doune Castle, about a three hour drive towards Stirling. Today I was driving so Richard was able to see the beautiful scenery that he missed on the way up north. It rained off and on but for the most part, the drive was pleasant.
We arrived at Doune Castle at 1:00, had a quick lunch of pre-prepared sandwiches and headed inside. Doune Castle is a medieval castle built during the 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. Doune reflects current ideas of what a royal castle building should be. It was planned as a courtyard with ranges of buildings on each side, although only the northern and north-western buildings were completed. These comprise a large tower house over the entrance, containing the rooms of the Lord and his family, and a separate tower containing the kitchen and guest rooms. The two are linked by the great hall. Though the castle has received restoration over the years, it is still very much like the original. We know this castle for the movies and TV shows that have been filmed here. It was the main filming location of Monty Python’s “In Search of the Holy Grail”. In fact, the audio tour is done by none other than Python’s Terry Jones. This entertaining tour features audio clips from the movie and a lighthearted, informative narrative of the castle itself. The castle has also been featured as Castle Leoch in the series Outlander and Winterfell in Game of Thrones. We felt that of all the castles we have seen to date, this one was the most authentic and well preserved. If you are ever in Scotland, this is a must see.
From the castle we drove onto Stirling and stopped at the Wallace Monument. This monument is a tribute to Sir William Wallace who fought for Scottish freedom against the English King Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks. The most famous battle was fought at the Stirling Bridge where the Scottish delivered a resounding defeat to the English troops. This made Wallace a hero in the eyes of his Scottish peers. If you have watched Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, then you will know that things did not turn out so well for Wallace. In 1305 Wallace was captured, drawn and quartered and his head was set on a spike for all his comrades to see. I think that the British thought that this would end the rebellion of the Scottish but as we know from history, war raged between the two for almost another 500 years.
We stopped at our BNB, dropped our bags and decided to walk up to Stirling Castle. The rain that had threatened all day finally fell and most of the walk up was with the umbrella. By the time we reached the top, we were informed that the castle had closed for the day. Though we weren’t planning to tour the interior anyway, we had hoped to get some pictures of the courtyard inside the walls. However, we had no such luck and we headed back down the hill. We stopped in the old part of town for a bite to eat (Richard again had some haggis which he seemed to like), headed back to the BNB, made some popcorn and settled in to watch, of course, The Holy Grail. It just gets better everytime we see it – especially now that we have see the the film locations.
Today we drop off our car and head to Glasgow by train. In a couple of days we are in Ireland and then Canada. Where has the time gone?!?!
This picture is of the section in the kitchen where the fire was for cooking. It was large enough to accommodate and entire cow on the spit. The picture below show a section of the wall where the knives were sharpened.
Col and I posing with coconuts which were used to make the horsey hoof sounds in the Holy Grail movie.
Our favourite scene of the Castle from the Monty Python movie.
The Wallace monument…
Stirling Castle & Stirling.
Robert the Bruce.
Stirling Old Town.
My second meal of Haggis. Not sure why people back home don’t like it. I think it tastes fine.