Sunday, 28th May, 2023

It was very exciting to visit Doune Castle as many of the scenes from one of my favourite films, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" were filmed there.

It was from the top of the wall on the left that the "French" knight taunted King Arthur with lines such as "I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty=headed animal food trough wiper" and
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries". It was to the door on the right (covered by scaffolding on the day of our visit) to which the "Trojan Rabbit" was wheeled.

The scene where Sir Lancelot indiscriminately kills a large number of wedding guests was filmed in this courtyard. If you are a fan of the film,
you might be interested in this YouTube video which shows more detail about this castle and the scenes filmed therein.

The Kitchen

The large archway was a fireplace.

The opposite end of the Kitchen

Servery hatches

The Great Hall (restored in the 1880s) was where the "Camelot" song was filmed:

"We're Knights of the Round Table.
We dance whene'er we're able.
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot."

Another visitor to Doune Castle

The Duke's Hall (as restored in the 1880s)

The Duke's Hall

The reason for this double fireplace in the Duke's Hall is lost in time.

From Doune Castle, we drove to our accommodation in Stirling. We asked for advice re the best way to get to Stirling Castle and were told to use the "Park and Ride" bus. We duly drove to the "Park and Ride" location where we found that it does not operate on Sundays! Luckily, there was a taxi there so we used that to get to the castle. The driver gave us his card so that we could call when we wanted to do the return trip.

Stirling Castle is built high upon a volcanic crag which dominates the plains below. Most of the buildings were constructed between 1490 and 1600.

This section of the castle was built by James IV around 1500.

The Great Hall was completed in 1503. At that time, it was the largest secular space in Scotland.

There were numerous gargoyles and grotesques on the exterior walls of the palace

The Queen's Outer Hall. The interiors of many rooms of the palace have been restored to look as much like the originals as possible. The work took a decade of research and craftsmanship, at a cost of £12 million.

There were guides dressed up in period clothes ready to answer questions.

The Queen's Inner Hall

Each one of these tapestries took between two and four years of painstaking work to complete. They tell the story of the hunt for a unicorn.

This is the Queen's Bedchamber. I don't know what the lutenist was doing in her bedroom!

Artificial fireplaces have come a long way in recent years. I had to check this one to see if it was real!

The King's Bedchamber

The King's Inner Hall has been decorated with replicas of the Stirling Heads. These are carved oak roundels which adorned the ceiling in this room until 1777 when the ceiling collapsed. Most of the original heads are on display in the castle museum. The originals have lost their paint (removed during the Victorian era). The replicas have been painted according to minute fragments of paint still remaining on the originals.

A section of the ceiling with replica heads

A Roman Emperor

James V

Hercules slaying a lion

The fireplace in the King's Inner Hall

Another view of the King's Inner Hall

The King's Outer Hall

The fireplace in the King's Outer Hall

The exterior of the Great Hall

The original Stirling Heads on display in the museum. Here are a nobleman, a woman in masquing costume, another nobleman, and a poet.

Here are a female worthy, a male worthy, another male worthy, and another male worthy (!)

Hercules slaying a lion

Hercules with his club

Holy Rood Church and Cowane's Hospital

Queen Anne's Garden

King James V

The Chapel Royal was built in seven months in 1594 so it could be ready for the baptism of his first son, Prince Henry. Sadly, Henry died at the age of 18 from typhoid fever.

The interior of the Great Hall

The above photos are either of Queen Anne's garden or views from it.

When we were ready to leave the castle, we called the cab driver who took us there. He said that he could not pick us up for an hour! Calls to other taxi companies produced either no answer or similar arrival times. Is it a coincidence that there is no Uber service in Stirling and the taxi service is so awful? I will leave you to ponder that. With no other choice available, we decided to walk back. The plan was for Satoshi to go to the Park and Ride and me to go straight to our accommodation (about the same distance, 2.5km). I had only managed to get about two thirds of the way when Satoshi arrived in the car! He had run most of the way to save me from walking. He is so wonderful!

Dinner was at Highland Gate Hotel (where we are staying).

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