Hello to the Highlands…

Wednesday the 13th June, 2012 – Edinburgh – Stirling – Kinguisee

A slow start to the morning, spent packing our things and enjoying the last views of Arthur’s Seat from our flat. It was a bright day and we planned to meander slowly out to some accomadation we had booked the day before. It was picked purely by it’s proximity to castles and lochs – we are so organised!  We squashed all of our gear and ourselves into the car, booted up Bonnie the GPS and set off. Having Lucy around (other then the fact she is awesome) was good as she was able to shed some light on some of the signs on the road. We headed north one of the “A” roads (just a major road – not a freeway).

Our view in Edinburgh

We arrived at Stirling and headed straight to the castle. It has been largely restored, the same as Edinburgh. It also has actors in period dress wandering about – which you would think would be cheezy but wasn’t too bad. There is a lot to wander about and see – interactive exhibits and museums. Great views around the edges.

Pretty countryside

Stirling Castle

A “maid” cleaning…

Talking to Lucy and reading the Lonely Planet, we gleaned that Stirling is considered sort of the truer capital – Edinburgh is the most “English” city in Scotland. Where as Stirling is where the wars for Scottish Independence were fought, so it’s sort of the heart.( It’s hard to give any kind of opinion on that!) I liked Stirling, but parts of the castle have been heavily restored and rebuilt. The Great Hall especially doesn’t look part of the rest of the place because it is so “new” looking. The castle was attacked a LOT in it’s time, being in a key location in central Scotland. The battle of Bannocknurn was fought within sight of the castle walls. If you are a history buff, it is not to be missed, so much went down!

Er.. King Wogan and Queen Tanya?

Greg liked the views, the walls and the history the best, partiularly the French influences. Stirling was built partly to impress a few French Queens along the way – the royal palace has some of the first Renaissance inspired architecture in the British Isles. It is gothic and pretty looking around the outside – there are a lot of stone gargoyles and figures. A statue of Robert the Bruce stands at the entrance to the castle. There is also an exhibit on the round oak potraits known as the “Stirling Heads” – which portray past rulers of the castles and figures in greek mythology. They have done a lot of research into them and replicas have been hung up, painted in bright colours as the originals once were.

Robert the Bruce

We had a late lunch at the castle and then moved on to check out the monument for William Wallace – which is a short drive away. This place also has a lot of history – but obviously very particular history. The tower was  erected in Wallace’s honour during the 1900’s and was funded by the Scotland public and people all over the world. It’s location is supposed to be where Wallace watched King Edward’s army gather, shortly before the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

The Wallace Monmument

You walk through a forest path to get to the monument, then climb 246 steps to get to the top. There are a few small exhibits to check out along the way. One features a re-enactment of Wallace on trial…no Braveheart clips though. The view at the top was spectactular – it overlooks the Forth river and you can see the Stirling Castle from a distance. I took some video to give an idea of the view – but some couple are making out in it, the wind makes the sound crappy…so it’s not great to put up!

View from the top..

We moved on from Stirling and kept heading towards Kinguissie. We stopped in Perth for a quick drink and to post on facebook that we had been there… It seemed like a nice place to visit for longer then half an hour! We then drove up and onwards towards the highlands. Some of the mountains still have snow on them, it looks so white from a distance you would think the mountains have holes in them!

We arrived at Kinguisse around 1930 – the place is lovely. It overlooks the mountains and the rooms are huge. Also, giant bath = win. The town itself is sited in the middle of the highlands, in the upper valley of Spey and sits right next to a national park – the Cairngorms. The hotel manager was very nice and we chatted to him as we downed a pint of the very local ale – Stag which is brewed by the Cairngorm Brewing Company and not bad at all! We had dinner at the hotel and crashed out… not before I managed a hot bath though!

View from our window…

This entry was posted in Europe 2012, Megamoon 2012, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hello to the Highlands…

  1. Janet says:

    Hi Tanya , sorry to hear Nila is AWOL- is it worth me doing a street search for her? I’m happy to head over to your place tomorrow if you think she might answer me. Anything else I can do? Regards Janet

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