Monday, 29th May, 2023

Our unbelievable run of lovely sunny weather is continuing. Today, our first port of call was the National Wallace Monument. This is a 67-metre-high tower on the shoulder of the Abbey Craig, a hilltop overlooking Stirling. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, a 13th- and 14th-century Scottish hero (portrayed as Braveheart by Mel Gibson in the film of the same name). There is a shuttle bus which takes visitors from the car park up the steep slope to the tower. Satoshi wanted to climb the 246 steps of the narrow spiral staircase up to the top. I decided that I was high enough already!

The views from the base of the tower are panoramic (from this angle one can see Stirling Castle in the distance).

A statue of Sir William Wallace on a corner of the tower

When Satoshi descended from the tower, we waited for awhile for the shuttle bus. Hearing that its driver was having his lunch, we decided to make our own way back down. By then, it was lunch time.

A very nice lunch at the Wallace Monument

Cambuskenneth Abbey is an Augustinian monastery located on an area of land enclosed by a meander of the River Forth only a few minutes' drive from Stirling. The abbey today is largely reduced to its foundations, however its bell tower remains. We enjoyed our own "meander" around the site. As you can see, we enjoyed yet more maginificent weather!

All that remains of the church is the west door.

This is the entrance to the bell tower, the ground floor of which is the only floor open to the public.

Inside the bell tower, looking up

Looking from the west door towards the east end

The Cloister

This tomb is located on the site of the High Altar. It contains the remains of King James III who was killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn. His wife, Margaret of Denmark, was also buried here. In 1865, Victorian excavators found two coffins under a stone slab that they believed contained the remains of the royal couple. One of the excavators, Colonel Sir James Alexander, noted 'Inside the coffin was a skeleton, doubtless of King James III. On being exposed to the air most of the bones crumbled to dust.' Queen Victoria paid for the new tomb.

This is the only other section of the abbey which remains. It is part of the Abbott's House.

A view of the Wallace monument from the abbey

The Foundations of the Chapter House.

Next, we made our way to the small town of Bridge of Allan where we had hoped to visit the Parish Church (Church of Scotland). Sadly, it was not open so we tried St Saviour's Episcopal Church which was across the road.

This lovely Rhododendron was in someone's garden, just where we parked the car.

St Saviour's Episcopal Church, Bridge of Allan

The view from the west end

The Lectern

The choir stalls

The view from the east end

We made our way back to Stirling where we wanted to visit Holy Rude Church. Cowane's Hospital is just across the road so we called in there first. Originally an almshouse, it was later converted to a guildhall. It is in the process of being made into a restaurant.

John Cowane (1570–1633) left money in his will for the founding of the hopsital

The four photos above show the interior of the building.

Across the road from the hospital is Holy Rude Church. This large and impressive building dates back to the 15th century with the tower and chancel being added in the 16th century. It is the second-oldest building in Stirling (after the castle).

The view looking east

The lovely oak roof is original.

This window commemorates the part played by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in WW1, of whom 6900 died. It depicts a young Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders soldier standing in the cemetery at Beaumont Hamel surrounded by gravestones carrying the names of WW1 battles. It was installed in 2016.

A detail of the above window

The "Old Dispensation and the New" window

The figures in the lower section are Moses, Elijah, King David and Isaiah who are matched with...

...Christ, John the Baptist, St Paul and St John the Evangelist in the higher section.

The above six photos are details of the window above.

"Christ entertained in the house of Zaccheus the Publican"

This plaque in the chancel shows the place where James VI (of Scotland), (later to become James I of England who is famous for the King James version of the Bible) was crowned. Her late majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the plaque in May, 1997.

This section of a window depicts Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples sleep.

The quire

The Chapel of St Andrew

Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana

This bell dates from 1310-1340.

The present Stirling Old Bridge was built in the 1400s or 1500s, replacing a succession of timber bridges. Undoubtedly the best-known of these was one that stood nearby in the 1290s, when Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray defeated Edward I’s forces at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

This last photo for today is the view from the window of our accommodation at 10:00pm at night.

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