If you missed my first post about Scotland, don’t forget to check it out! So now, back to all our adventures . . . For our first touristy day in Scotland, Jenna and Dave took us to the Wallace Monument – and what a perfect first place to visit in Scotland. The monument is located in Stirling and is letter A on the map below:
The monument is in honor of Sir William Wallace – and if you’ve ever seen the movie Braveheart than you know who I’m referring to. Wallace was one of the key leaders in Scotland’s fight for independence. The monument is built in Stirling because that’s where the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place in 1297. During this battle Wallace and his men were able to defeat the British on the River Forth. Going to the monument was one of my favorite things while visiting Scotland. It was a bit of a hike to the top but the views were incredible.
Before going into the monument we were lucky enough to be there on one of the days (Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays) where there is a presentation. A man dressed up from the time period talks about what it was like to fight alongside Wallce – he explains the battle and significance of Wallace’s life. It was really great.
After this we climbed the tiny spiral staircase through the monument. Along the way you stop in different rooms to learn more about William Wallace and other famous people in Scottish history. At one point you get to see Wallace’s sword – and its taller than I am – 5 feet 6 inches!
Once you reach the top of the monument you are outside and its really gorgeous. When we got to the top we could hear someone in the distance playing bagpipes! We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment or a better introduction to Scotland!
After enjoying the sound of bagpipes and the great view, we headed back down the 246 steps (yep, that’s right – Dave counted!) and then back down the large hill the monument sits upon. As we were walking down I noticed that there were thistles all around – thistles quickly became my favorite thing about Scotland.
After taking a tons of pictures of thistles, Jenna told me why the thistle is so significant to Scottish heritage . . . back in the mid 1200s, a Norse army tried to attack Scotland during the night. While walking through the brush the leader stepped on a thistle and screamed in pain. His scream woke up the Scottish men sleeping nearby and they were able to defeat them!