This last weekend, we had some visitors in town and decided to show them Stirling Castle. The town of Stirling is a short distance from Edinburgh, about an hour on the train. It has always been a very strategic location in Scottish history, marking the point between the lowlands and the highlands. It was home to many Scottish kings and queens including an infant Mary Queen of Scots, who was crowned in the chapel when she was only 9 months old. It has been the backdrop of many battles throughout Scottish history including the famous Battle of Stirling Bridge in which the Scottish hero, William Wallace, led an army that defeated a much larger English force and drove them from Scotland.
I'm perpetually in awe of how much history is encompassed within this building and these grounds. It's quite remarkable. Even though we've been to the castle before, every time we go we discover something new. This time, we were also blessed with absolutely beautiful weather. I wore my 1941 trousers (Simplicty 3688) and my mid-40's 'Vitemeatavegamin' blouse (DuBarry 5327).
Historic Scotland, an organization responsible for the stewardship of Stirling Castle and other historic monuments, recently spent several years reconstructing the Royal Apartments in the castle. The apartments opened last summer but this is the first time we've seen them and they do not disappoint. While to many people, the reconstruction may look a little 'too new', all of the design (including the painting, tapestries, etc.) were done using period techniques and following period descriptions of how the royal rooms would have looked:
As someone who has visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Cloisters in NYC many times, I've been watching with eager anticipation while they wove replications of all five unicorn tapestries by hand. The weavers took several trips to see the original tapestries in NYC to match the exact colours and yarns. The tapestries are absolutely stunning and this must be what it was like to see the originals unveiled at the end of the 15th century.
One of the other great buildings in Stirling is the Wallace Monument (seen below). You get a stunning view of the monument from Stirling Castle and vice versa. The monument was built in the 1860's and includes a museum that houses William Wallace's giant (5ft, 6in) Claymore sword. Unfortunately, the museum was closed by the time we got there but the hike up to the monument was quite lovely.
Such a lovely day! It's wonderful to go back to such an awe-inspiring place. Have you ever been to Stirling? Do you ever get that overwhelming feeling of awe when you're in a place that is so old?