Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


7.9.09
  Wallace Views

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.
 
Comments:
That's a very big ... er... phallic looking monument to Wallace ;-)
 
He owes Mel a smack in the head for Wallace's hair style, alone...
 
Lol yes, makes you wonder what sort of Freudian compensation thing those Victorian architects had going on. ;)
 
Charles, and that outdated Pictish warpaint. :)
 
At least the outdated warpaint gave Bernard Cornwell a joke in one of his Grail Quest novels (Heretic, I think). So not all bad.

Those are great photos. I've admired the Wallace Monument from afar a good few times on the way to the Highlands, but never visited it. I should remedy that :-)
 
Maybe he and Isabella could time travel together and finally get lucky!
 
I want one.
Le Loup.
 
That sky over Sterling looks like polished pewter. Lovely.
 
Er, that's Stirling. (Getting all muddled up in metals...)
 
I echo Lady D's comment - that is one decidedly phallic monument!
 
girls....girls....girls......
tsk tsk.

I gave up listing the historical inaccuracies of "Braveheart" years ago. If it was not such a vehicle for political separatism, I would say, "just relax, enjoy a rattlin' good movie".

To fourth generation expatirate Scots, I just have to mention that "you know, its ONLY a movie eh! Most of that stuff never happened and what DID happen didn't happen quite like that." To first generation Scots, I might suggest that you don't predicate a political movement upon a movie though they are usually too canny by half to be taken in by such a ploy.
 
Carla, for an experienced hillwalker like you, that one should not be a problem. Just make sure you get there before 5 am. :)

Susan, only if Willie takes a shower first.

A Tour de le Loup. :)

Nicola, the Scottish sky is fascinating - and quite fun to photograph.

Stag, the problem with that Braveheart movie is that too many people take it for history. Same with Gladiator, btw, and King Arthur even professes to be history which really makes me cringe.

Lol, Alianore and Lady D, maybe those condom ads should use the Wallace Monument instead of those boring cucumbers and courgettes. :P
 
"Lol, Alianore and Lady D, maybe those condom ads should use the Wallace Monument instead of those boring cucumbers and courgettes"

Now that is an image I'm not going to be able to get out of my head all day.
 
Too cool to plot to knock down. *g*
 
Despite it's lack of historical...well, ANYTHING, I actually like that movie. ;)

I love that one pictures of the Highlands. It's so beautiful. I need to visit my family's homeland again some day...
 
Lol Constance, the old castles you want to knock down, and that monument is safe from your trebuchets. :)

Meghan, the problem with Braveheart and Gladiator is that I know too much about the history to enjoy them. Heck, I cringe at some of the stuff documentaries get wrong. ;)
 
I would like to visit these places someday. "William Wallace" is one of my favorite movies and after seeing it I went for more information about William Wallace. He is not exactly the nice person of the movie I wonder who was such a nice person in 13th century. So I end up liking him even more :)
 
Ah, William Wallace ... there's actually a Braveheart Car Park in Glen Nevis these days!

p.s. I have now lived in Scotland for a year and am loving it. More or less given up writing for mountaineering though, which is at once a good and bad thing.
 
Mihai, nice persons in the 13th century probably ended up dead rather early, or maybe in a monastery. ;)

Hi Alex, long time no see. Glencoe is such a spectacular place to live - I've hiked in the valley during my visit ten years ago. Maybe you'll get back to writing when you've done all the Munros in your area. :)
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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