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National Wallace Monument (Stirling)

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Hillfoots Road, Stirling FK9 5LF. tel = 01786 472140

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      02.09.2013 20:53
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      A proud Scottish monument

      The National Wallace Monument
      Abbey Craig, Hillsfoot Rd
      Causewayhead, Stirling FK9 5LF

      WE spent the afternoon visiting Stirling castle and having seen this monument from the castle we decided we would go and have a look at this too. We had both enjoyed 'Braveheart' and been inspired by William Wallace as portrayed by Mel Gibson and even though the Scots are not that impressed with the film it did raise our awareness of the events so they should be happy to at least bring their history to everyone's attention even if there are a few historic inaccuracies.

      This was of course built many years before the film though I am sure there are a few who were not aware of this. The monument is hard to miss as it is a 67m high tower, built on a rocky cliff top known as Abbey Craig which is already 360ft high . It celebrates the life of William Wallace who died in 1305 but was Guardian And High Protector Of Scotland at the time of Robert the Bruce. The tower was finished in 1869 having taken 8 years to build. It was built with money from public donations and many came donations from expat Scots spread all over the globe.


      OPENING TIMES
      Open daily all year but in January through to March it says check the opening times on line. From April 1 to 30 June it is open from 10am to 5pm. In July and August they stay open another hour to 6pm. From Sept 1 to Oct 31st they go back to closing at 5pm and then in November and December they close another hour earlier at 4pm. They are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
      I can't remember what we paid as we went to so many places after this so check on the website if interested as I am sure they change from time to time too.

      ACCESSIBILITY
      Car parking is pay and display which I think is cheeky but be aware as you don't want a ticket when you come back to the car.

      There are disabled parking places and access to the reception centre and coffee house is available but once you get to the Abbey Craig and the actual monument then access is limited so ask before visiting if this applies to you.

      VISITING THE MONUMENT
      Once you arrive at the centre you can pay for your entry and also then catch the courtesy bus up to the monument to save your legs for the climb within the monument itself. The centre has information and guide but you can also pay extra for an audio guide once you get to the actual monument if you want to.
      Be aware that the café and the toilets are down near the visitor centre and there are no facilities up at the monument or if you choose to walk the Abbey trail and get to the viewpoint with the view over Stirling.

      We didn't have a lot of time as we stopped off on our way from Derby to Kenmore so we didn't do the walk, took the bus and did a very speedy visit burning off quite a few calories within the monument itself.
      The monument is over four floors and between each is a spiral staircase. I hate spiral staircases as I always end up on the inside tiny part and get dizzy going up and down but that is all there is.
      The bus drops you off on the terrace and also picks you up from there to take you back down to the visitor centre. You enter through the reception desk and of course the obligatory shop which we didn't even glance at.

      On the first level is where you learn the story of the man himself and you can also see William Wallace's original broadsword that must have caused the death of many in the various battles he took part in.
      We then walked on up to the next floor where they have created several beautiful stained glass windows to celebrate the Scottish heroes of the different conflicts . We saw William Wallace of course, Robert the Bruce in the windows while the marble busts around celebrated famous writers and poets and other heroes. The only one I remember is Robbie Burns. I have to admit I preferred the stained glass windows as they were colourful and I do like a stained glass window where marble busts don't really grab me.

      Gathering our energy we climbed up again to the next floor which tells how the monument was built which I am afraid we skipped through to make our way to the next floor which promised views over Stirling and the castle of course as well as the river Forth. However we did learn that this tower represents a Scottish Medieval tower. On the top is a model of the Royal Crown of Scotland. It is 67 metres tall and the walls are an astonishing 16-18 ft at their thickest and even at their thinnest they are 5 ft thick so well insulated and solid.

      This top story overlooks the area where William Wallace fought in the Battle of Stirling Bridge and won the famous victory. It gave us a view from the other side that we had seen from the castle just a bit earlier in the day. It is fitting that the monument was built here as this is where Wallace and Andrew de Moray watched the huge English army approaching across the narrow Stirling Bridge in 1227. The Scots managed to use this bridge separation to their advantage and attacked when a portion of the English army was across. The Scots won the battle and Wallace went on to rid most of the rest of Scotland of the English. Sadly Wallace was eventually betrayed and then executed by the English.

      We then made our way down the 246 steps of the spiral staircase round and round until my legs were like jelly and my head spinning with dizziness. It would have been nice to be able to take our time but as always we try to do so much and were in a bit of a hurry.

      I am glad we made the effort to see the view from both places and visit the monument but wish we had had a bit longer so that we could have walked to the viewpoint and maybe had a cup in the café but we had to go in order to reach our destination before it got too late.

      Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
      ©Catsholiday

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      • More +
        19.05.2009 12:31
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        If you visit Scotland, I highly reccomend you visiting this lovely landmark

        I have visited this Scotish landmark many times throughout my life, everytime becomes more interesting and informative. It is located in Stirling, in the central region of Scotland.

        It was built in 1869 as a lasting tribute to Sir William Wallace, one of Scotland's most famous heroes. As you climb up the monument, which is very steep there are many different levels teaching you about the history of this man and the troubles he faced for his country. Also, in a glass case is the original Wallace sword which he used during battle and videos reinacting his life.

        When you reach the top of the monument on a clear day you can see five countys of Scotland and the view is amazing. There is an excellend souvenir shops located at the bottom of the monument selling all sorts of momentos for a reasonable price. There is a statue of Mel Gibson's version of William Wallace from the film Braveheart.

        If you are on a holiday to Scotland I would highly reccomend visiting this landmark. It is fun for all the family and very very informative.

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          14.01.2007 17:18
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          A PLACE FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE HEARTFELT FREEDOM OF BEING A SCOT.

          The National Wallace Monument

          Stirling

          A Landmark of Scotland to a National Hero

          I love Scotland. Always have. And despite being more of a Highlands Girl than a Lowlands Girl, having a partner from Edinburgh and cousins in Glasgow and Clackmannanshire, I do get the chance to see and enjoy the flatter parts of this wonderful kingdom. A couple of years ago, on such a visit to my cousin, who at the time was living in Stirling, we took a walk out of the city towards Bridge of Allan, a lovely little place with a wonderful pub, where we partook of an amazing Sunday lunch (and a heavenly sticky toffee pudding!). Instead of getting a cab home, we decided to walk back through the grounds of Stirling University, a beautiful campus complete with castle and loch, squirrels and rabbits, and really very enjoyable. The back of the grounds took us out to the foot of Abbey Craig, a very steep outcrop of basalt, which is a very hard-wearing type of volcanic rock. And atop the Abbey Craig, stands The Wallace Monument.


          Who was William Wallace?

          The Wallace Monument was build to commemorate Sir William Wallace, Guardian of all Scotland. He was a proud and fearless man by all accounts, and was a strong follower of the Scottish idea of Honour. It was this which led him into the life of an outlaw, when upon visiting his wife, Marion Braidfoot, and their baby daughter in Lanark, he was set upon by English soldiers, whom he escaped from. However, his wife was soon after executed by the sheriff of Lanark, and later that night, in retribution for this, Wallace and his men stormed Lanark Castle, killing the sheriff and every English soldier there. With his status as an outlaw well and truly proven, and perhaps with nothing to loose but his freedom and the country he loved, Wallace went on to fight for Scotland, and her freedom, battling it out first at Stirling Bridge, where he was victorious, and then later at Falkirk, where the English troops overcame the Scots. He was eventually betrayed by a man he believed to be his friend, who took him to a meeting with Robert the Bruce, and after a trial that found him guilty of murder and treason, he was hung, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, in London. Of course, if you’ve seen the film Braveheart, with Mel Gibson in the title role, then you will undoubtedly know all of this, but it is a story that still puts a chill through me, and makes the fire of Scottish patronage burn ever brighter in me.


          The Monument

          The monument itself is more of a castle than anything else. It took 8 years to build and is 220 feet high, so the views you get from the top are amazing! Getting to the top, however, is a hard climb, on foot. To begin, you need to get your entrance ticket for the Monument at The Visitor Pavilion, which is at the foot of the Craig, and there is a car park here too if you have driven in.

          There is then a free shuttle bus which will take you from the car park at the foot of the Craig right up to the front door of the Monument, and this really is the easy route. Alternatively, you can do what we did, which is to walk the very, very steep, very bumpy and dry earth track up to the top. It was quite a warm dry day when we started out, but I imagine that on a rainy October afternoon, it would have been even harder to climb, as it is literally a dirt track to the top! All the way up to the top, you are treated to glimpses of the view, wonderful woodland, some of which is ancient woodland, and there are nature trails that circle the Craig.

          Once at the top, a little out of breath, we were struck immediately by the amazing views. We could see Stirling Castle, the River Forth, which meets the sea north of Edinburgh, bridged by two of the most famous bridges in all of Scotland, The Forth Bridge and The Forth Road Bridge. It seemed that the land below was just spread out like a map for us to read, but it was nothing compared to the view from the top of the Monument!

          Once inside it was remarkably warm, despite the thick stone walls that always seem so cold looking. On the ground floor there was a coffee shop, a gift shop and a reception desk, where you get a headset to listen to a tour as you go round the building. To your immediate left as you enter the Monument, there is a small doorway and small stone steps leading up, and this is how you get to the top. I was quite excited about going up, but my cousin isn’t great with confined spaces so she stayed down in the gift shop while I ventured up alone….I had no idea what I had let myself in for!

          The staircase is of the spiral variety, stone, very VERY narrow, and lit only by the daylight coming through narrow gaps in the stonework – they could hardly be called windows! There is really barley enough space for one person and yet, only a few stairs up, I had to pin my back to the wall as someone came down! To say it was hairy is a bit of an understatement. Added to the fact that there was nothing to hold onto by way of a handrail, it was all a bit nerve wracking!

          As you go up the steps, you reach different levels of the monument, and at each of these different levels is a room full of displays and information. The first was in honour of the man himself, Sir William, and as well as the story of his life and information on the battles, there is a glass display in the far corner that blew me away – the broadsword he used which looking at it had to be almost as tall as me and probably as heavy! A beautiful piece of work though, and really interesting to look at.

          The next room is call The Hall of Heroes, and has busts of different Scottish heroes like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. There is information about their contributions to Scotland in their writing and so on. The last room before you get to the top is an exhibition of how the monument was built in the 1860’s. It’s very strange to think that it isn’t older than that, and though I know William wasn’t around when the foundations were laid and the first red stones piled on atop the other, there is a real sense of presence about the place that can have you believing Sir William really did walk the ramparts and race up and down the steps of this beautiful building.

          If you manage up this far, its not long now till you get to the top – I was knackered but overwhelmed at the top with exactly how far across Scotland I could see. The river shone like sapphire blue in a snaking, curling ribbon across bright green fields, and the light coloured brick of Stirling Castle glinted in the afternoon sun. I could see the rolling Pentland Hills to the east, Ben Lomond, to the west, a wonderful Munro which sits off the side of Loch Lomond, north of Glasgow, and the whole city of Stirling laid out like an elaborate patchwork quilt. It really was breathtaking and well worth the nervous 246 steps to the top!

          The top of the monument looks a little bit like a crown from far away, and up close it was amazing to walk under handcrafted arches and curves of stone. It’s as much the detail of this building as the views it commands that pull you in and make you feel somehow attached to it. Even now, when I pass through Stirling on the train and I see the Monument standing tall and proud on the wooded rocky outcrop, with hills behind glowing purple with heather, I feel a kinship to it that I don’t feel with any other Scottish building – not even Edinburgh Castle. It’s a symbol of Scottish honour and the sense of pride every native of this wonderful place feel. It’s a symbol of belonging, of freedom, of the land we call home. It is the proof, should it ever have been needed, that Scotland and her people will always have freedom in their hearts, no matter which political party believes they have control. And that is something that I truly love. Always have.

          Entrance Costs and Opening Times

          The Wallace Monument is open all year round with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and NewYear’s Day.

          Adults : £6.50
          OAP’s and Students: £4.90
          Child: £4.00

          Family Ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children): £17.00

          Groups of 10 people or more get a 10% discount, and school groups are charged £2.50 per child with one adult free for every 10 children.

          Last entrance to the Monument is 45 minutes before closing time and these times differ depending when in the year you visit.

          Jan – Feb & Nov – Dec : 10.30am – 4.00pm
          Mar – May : 10.00am – 5.00pm
          June: 10.00am – 6.00pm
          July & Aug : 09.30am – 6.00pm
          Sept: 09.30am – 5.00pm
          Oct: 10.00am – 5.00pm


          Access and Other Information

          Disabled access is very limited within the monument, and completely restricted to the tower.

          Audio tour is in 5 languages : English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

          There is also information in all these languages on the website, which is:
          www.nationalwallacemonument.com

          The Wallace Monument is just off the A9 from Stirling, but is about an hour’s easy walk from the town centre. We made a day of it by walking to Bridge of Allan, through the University via the monument back to Stirling and we were out all day, but for a shorter walk, the route to and the back from the monument is lovely if the weather is good.

          For more information go online or contact the monument:

          The National Wallace Monument
          Abbey Craig
          Hillfoots Road
          Causewayhead
          Stirling
          FK9 5LF

          01786 472140


          Hope you enjoy your visit to this wonderful place, thank you for reading, Kate x

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          • More +
            30.04.2004 21:37
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            Freedom!

            It's impossible not to notice THE WALLACE NATIONAL MONUMENT, a 67m high gothic tower, standing as it does atop the Abbey Craig (a 360ft high rocky outcrop) at the foot of the Ochil Hills and commanding the carse-lands of the snaking River Forth near Stirling.


            Contrary to popular misconception, the monument was NOT built to celebrate the success of Mel Gibson's historically dubious Braveheart - great, swashbuckling adventure that it was - the monument commemorates the real SIR WILLIAM WALLACE(d 1305).

            There's not a lot of accurate documentation of the early life of William Wallace, but what is undisputed is that he rose from relatively humble beginnings to become Guardian And High Protector Of Scotland - no mean feat in the days of the feudal system.

            It was from the Abbey Craig, in 1297, that Wallace and Andrew de Moray watched the English army approaching across the narrow Stirling Bridge. Outnumbered, the Scots waited until a manageable proportion of the English had crossed the bridge before sweeping down upon them and slaughtering them in their thousands. Many of those who tried to escape drowned in the River Forth, or were trampled in the confusion as more English tried to cross the bridge and join the fight before the final rout. This was the first time the Scots had ever managed to defeat the English in open battle, and Wallace went on to liberate most of occupied Scotland.
            After many setbacks and defeats over the next few years, Wallace was betrayed and then murdered by the English - he was executed as a traitor, but being Scottish made it somewhat
            impossible for him to be an English traitor.



            The Monument is a couple of miles from Stirling city-centre, quite close to the university in the spa town of Bridge of Allan. It's visible from practically everywhere for miles around and is well sign-posted from all directions.

            It was completed in 1869 after 8 years construction and was funded by public subscription including donations that poured in from expatriate Scots around the world.

            The Monument was designed in the Scottish 'Baronial' style and represents a Scottish Medieval tower, rising from a courtyard, topped by a representation of the Royal Crown of Scotland. It's 220 ft high and 36 sq ft. The walls are 16-18 ft at their thickest, tapering to 5 feet thick at their thinnest.



            Parking is at the foot of the Abbey Craig, at the visitor centre beside the Sword Hotel, but there's a minibus available to take visitors up the hill to the monument if you don't fancy the climb.

            On entering the Monument there is a display about Wallace and about the monument's construction. If you've not taken advantage of the mini-bus to get this far, it might be a good idea to pause awhile here, learn something about the building, and get your breath back.

            The monument has four levels above the ground floor and these are accessed by some 246 steps in a spiral staircase.
            The steps are a little worn from a century-and-a-half of use and can be quite uneven so care must be taken. The staircase is also narrow so it's quite awkward if you meet someone traveling in the opposite direction.

            The ground floor room contains the ubiquitous souvenir shop - with a video player and TV screen continuously playing the Braveheart film. I'll bet the staff never get sick of wat
            ching that.

            LEVEL 1 houses a display about the life of WALLACE and of the BATTLE of STIRLING BRIDGE. One of the highlights is a 3-D simulation of Wallace's trial at Westminster Hall, telling his own story via a 'Talking Head'.
            Also on display on this level is Wallace's giant, double-handed broadsword - 5ft 4in of deadly steel. Wallace was reputedly 6ft 6in tall (a giant by medieval terms) and must have been an awesome sight coming at you waving this huge 'chib'.

            LEVEL 2 is the HALL of SCOTTISH HEROES. This area holds marble statues of 16 of the most notable Scotsmen - writers, explorers, inventors and statesmen, including: Sir Walter Scott, David Livingstone, Robert Burns, James Watt and Adam Smith.
            An audio-visual display also pays tribute to the notable Scots of the twentieth century.

            LEVEL 3 is home to the DIORAMA, a 360° illustration of the geography surrounding the monument which details important landmarks and battle-sites (this area was the scene of a great number of battles between Scotland and England).
            It's worth taking a little while to familiarise yourself before the final slog to the viewing platform above.


            THE CROWN is where you'll find perhaps one of the finest views in all of Scotland. To the south, lies Stirling dominated by its magnificent castle and the old town stretching out immediately below it, as well as the Old Bridge (not the one from the battle, although this more recent crossing [15-16th century] is pretty much on the site o
            f the original.
            To the north, almost within spitting distance, are the western reaches of the Ochil Hills.
            Westwards, lies the Trossachs. On a clear day you can see Ben Lomond and a panoramic vista of some of the peaks of the southern highlands.
            To the East, the River Forth takes a slow meander before opening up and becoming the estuary known as the Firth of Forth. Both road and rail bridges are clearly visible and are quite stunning from this perspective.

            It's all downhill after that....



            A visit to the Wallace Monument is a fantastic day-out and the spectacular view from the crown more than makes up for the trudge up all those steps. Still, if you've built up a thirst with the effort of climbing stairs and digesting history, why not round off your visit with a pint of Stirling Brig Ale from the local Bridge of Allan brewery in one of the many nearby hostelries.





            The Monument is open daily (ex. Dec 25&26 and Jan 1). Opening hours vary, but 10.00-16.30 in the winter and 09.30-18.00 in the summer is a good rough guide.
            Admission is £6 for adults and £4 for children with various concessions.
            Owing to the spiral staircase, the tower isn't really suitable for disabled visitors.



            Images of The Wallace Monument:
            http://www.lenymede.demon.co.uk/photscot3/photo9.html





            Thanks for reading

            ©proxam2004

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            • More +
              04.06.2001 22:52
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              Wallace monument is situated at the foot of the Ochil hills near Stirling. From here it looks out over the Forth valley and gives a commanding viewpoint of the surrounding land. So why was the monument built? Well I'm sure that thanks to "Braveheart" and Mel Gibson, there are very few people who haven't heard of William Wallace. Just incase you are not quite sure of the story, here is a brief outline of the man. Wallace lived in the late 13th century when Edward I of England was trying to turn Scotland into an English region. Wallace wasn't too happy about this and refused to swear allegiance to the English throne. He managed to gather an army of like-minded individuals and fought many battles against the English. His most successful battle was at Stirling bridge in 1296 when the massive English army was defeated by Wallaces much smaller collection of soldiers. Eventually though, Wallace was captured and taken to London. Here he was hung, drawn and quartered and his head impaled on London Bridge. His crime was apparently treason although as he had never sworn allegiance to England, this was impossible. During the 1830's there was a resurgence in Scottish nationalism and a renewed interest in Scottish history. This led to the formation of a National Monument Committee that was to build monuments to commemorate Scottish history. The foundation stone of the monument was laid in 1863 but it was not completed until 1869. The tower is in the design of a Scottish Medieval tower surrounded by a courtyard, topped with a design based on the Crown Royal of Scotland. Very patriotic! It is 220 feet high, which allows for the fantastic views over the Forth valley. To reach the top you have to climb 246 steps to the stop. This can be a bit of an experience as the steps wind their way round the north west corner of the tower. The steps are worn from over a century of use and can be very uneven. It's
              quite easy to lose you footing. The stairway is also very narrow so if you are an adult it can be very interesting meeting someone coming the other way. You have to suck your tummy in and squeeze past! The tower contains four rooms that all have displays and exhibitions so you can have a bit of a breather on the way up! The ground floor has the inevitable souvenir shop and yes you can buy Braveheart videos here! The first floor has an AV presentation on William Wallace and his life. The one thing that really sticks in my mind from here is the 700 year old sword that once belonged to William Wallace. This thing is huge!! It is a traditional two-handed broad-sword, it measures 71.5 inches in length and weighs six pounds. How Wallace managed to swing this sword I have no idea! I would have run away very quickly if I had seen him coming! Further up is the "Hall of Heroes" which consists of busts of 16 well known Scots. Remember that the candidates were selected in the 19th century so people's views may have changed since then! Those present include Robert the Bruce, John Knox, David Livingstone, Sir Walter Scott and James Watt. A varied bunch you must agree! After climbing the 200+ stairs and over 200 feet you reach the top. I'll warn you now that the top is open and it can be very windy up here! The views are magnificent and more than make up for all the climbing. You get a wonderful view of Stirling and the castle as well as the windings of the river Forth through the farmland of the Forth valley. If you are lucky and it's a clear day, you may see the road and rail bridges up at Queensferry that cross the Forth estuary and lead into Edinburgh. The descent is a lot more perilous than the ascent and you can get quite dizzy so stop every so often and regain your balance! The tearoom in the former caretakers' house is well worth a stop for a well deserved cup of tea. The prices aren&
              #39;t too bad and if it was a bit windy at the top you'll need warmed up again! If you are ever near Stirling, don't miss the chance to climb the monument as it really has something for everyone.

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