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The Monument celebrates the real Braveheart!
National Wallace Monument (Stirling)
Member Name: catsholiday
National Wallace Monument (Stirling)
Advantages: You get a darned good view from the top and a good cardio work out
Disadvantages: None really though cheeky to charge for parking as well!
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.
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.
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.
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Summary: A proud Scottish monument
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