There's one man you can't escape in Stirling: William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero who probably would love the idea of time travel into the future, so he could have a few words with Mel Gibson about that Braveheart movie.
The main reason for his popularity as tourist attraction is because of this. OK, you'll have to take a close look, but that spiky thing on the hill in the middle of the pic is the Wallace Monument.
Wallace Monument, seen from Stirling Castle
The hill is called Abbey Craig, and it's said to have been the place from where Wallace watched the gathering of Edward I's army before the battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297. Wallace won that battle, which is one of the reasons for his popularity - defeating Edward I counts as something. After the battle Wallace was proclaimed Guardian of Scotland, though I don't think there's an exact job description anywhere. Wallace Monument, near Stirling
This picture of the monument looks pretty dramatic; an effect you'll get when photographing objects against the sky. And the Scottish sky is prone to be dramatic all in itself.
The monument was constructed in the wake of a resurgence of Scottish nationalism in the 19th century (1), based on a fundraising campaign that yielded £18,000. The 220 feet high sandstone tower was completed in 1869 to the Victorian Gothic designs of architect John Thomas Rochead. There's a museum inside.View from the monument towards Stirling
There was still some time left after I visited Stirling Castle, and I decided to see the Wallace Monument. The official guidebook said it's open until 6 am but when I arrived at the foot of the hill, it turned out opening time was only until 5 am. Well, I climbed the hill anway because the terrace in front of the tower offers a great view over the surroundings, but I miissed the exhibition (and climbing 280something stairs, lol).View towards the Highlands
The view was worth the climb, though it was the first time I regretted not having brought my trusty walking stick (I would regret it several more times in the days to follow).
I got a Historical Scotland booklet about William Wallace I bought ten years ago, and Nigel Tranter's novel is on my TBR pile, so I may come up with some information about the man that are a bit more historical correct than Wallace having sex with Queen Isabella three years after his death. ;)Zoomed in view to Stirling Castle, seen from the Wallace Monument
In the evening light only the renovated hall can be distinguished by its yellowish stone, the grey walls beneath almost merge with the landscape. (1) Nationalist revival spread all through Europe at that time. The German Hermann Statue celebrating Arminius' victory over Varus dates from the same era. Let's hope Gibson never finds out about that piece of history.