After our failed attempt at getting into Edinburgh castle + Mike’s imaginary attempt at jumping the fence of Buckingham palace, we were determined more than ever to explore a castle. No more than a 45min train from Glasgow is Stirling; a city that would allow us to knock off 2 major musts on our list of things to do in Scortland- see a castle and go on a distillery tour.
U K P A R T 3 | S T I R L I N G
Like Edinburgh, Stirling is a city made of rich history and culture. Stirling is the heritage capital of Scotland and served as the back drop to many legendary events, wars of independence, and family trees of monarchy. It’s the city that one brings to mind when they are told stories of feudal times or the city one imagines when drawing up images of queens and kings.
For those fans of Mel Gibson [as William Wallace] in Braveheart, Stirling is where he defeated the English in the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.
For those, like myself, who are fans of the CW show Reign, Stirling is where infant Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of Scots in 1543 in the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle. Stirling Castle was to be her safe haven and it was where she was raised until she was sent away to be hidden/protected at Inchmahome Priory […you know the opening scene of the pilot where she’s playing soccer] before her life at French Court. [Tons of pics of Stirling Castle to come!]
Our first order of business in Stirling was a whiskey tour at Deanston Distillery. Though my current relationship with whisky is a work in progress [i’m hating it less but I still wince at the taste/smell and can only take the smallest of sips], I can appreciate the history, tradition, and technique that goes into its production. This particular distillery’s 1st life, in 1785, was as a cotton mill for 180 years. Once cotton production ceased and moved off shores, the bones the cotton mill left behind proved to be the perfect foundation to distill Deanston’s single malt scotch whisky.
[outside the distillery]
[fermentation + distillation]
[once the room where cotton workers spun is now where barrels of whisky are aged]
[out front by the River Teith – the hydro source that helps to make Deanston Scotland’s only electrically self sufficient distillery]
Warm from whisky, we headed to up to Stirling Castle. We finally got our chance to explore the world inside the castle walls!
[statue of Robert the Bruce right before you enter]
[I was fascinated by all the windows + doorways; an opportunity to see what ‘they’ saw]
[perched atop Castle Hill and surrounded by steep cliffs]
[the Unicorn Hunt tapestry hanging in the Queen’s hall inside the royal palace]
Stirling; where castle dreams come true!