Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stirling Castle, Falkirk Wheel Day 11 #VisitScotland #goaheadtours #peoplemakeGLA

March 29, 2015
Our last day in Scotland. Wow, time really flew by. Cannot believe all the wonderful things we've seen and all the fantastic people we've met.

Our adventures today are fairly close to Glasgow so we get to spend a little longer in bed and a slow breakfast at the Hotel Novotel buffet. Paul, our coach driver is off and is replaced by John (if we stayed longer would our drivers be George and Ringo?)

Today we're visiting Stirling Castle. Everyone I spoke to prior to our trip said be sure to visit Stirling Castle. Ronnie, our tour director said we had a few hours to visit and thought that might not be enough but we had other places to be, so make the best of it.

It's Sunday morning and we're making good time on the road. John suggested a quick stop at Bannockburn Battlefield.
The visitor Center is closed until sometime after Easter but we get to check out the monuments.

In June 1314 the history of Scotland as a nation was about to change forever. It was at the Battle of Bannockburn that Robert Bruce, King of Scots, would face down the English army led by Edward II. Edward, wanting to retain the stronghold of Stirling Castle, had led a huge army through Scotland to lift the Scots’ siege of his garrison at the Castle.
Hold Stirling and you control Scotland. Achieving this was vital to Edward’s hopes of re-establishing his weakening grip on the country, but he was stopped short by the army of Robert Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn.
More images from Bannockburn Battlerfield: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Scotland-2015/Stirling-Castle-Falkirk-Wheel/Bannockburn-Battlefield

A quick drive takes us to Stirling Castle

The history of this castle/fortress can be viewed at: http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/home/experience/story/timelinepage.htm
In the photo above, note the pock marks in the tower-these were left behind by various mortars and musket balls fired during the many attacks on the castle.

We were given a few hours to explore, you'd think this would be WAY too much time but keeping an eye on our watches, we quickly found you could spend a full day here and still not see everything there is to see.

Being able to walk through the Royal Palace was so moving. Seeing Mary Queen of Scots bed chamber was unreal. The historical events that these walls have seen, oh my.

More images from Stirling Castle: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Scotland-2015/Stirling-Castle-Falkirk-Wheel/Stirling-Castle

Before heading to the Falkirk Wheel we stop to take a couple of group photos with John and Ronnie and Robert the Bruce.


On to the  Falkirk Wheel.

What is the  Falkirk Wheel  you ask, well...
From their website:  The Millennium Link was an ambitious £84.5m project with the objective of restoring navigability across Scotland on the historic Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, providing a corridor of regenerative activity through central Scotland.


A major challenge faced, was to link the Forth and Clyde Canal, which lay 35m (115ft) below the level of the Union Canal. Historically, the two canals had been joined at Falkirk by a flight of 11 locks that stepped down across a distance of 1.5km, but these were dismantled in 1933, breaking the link.

What was required was a method of connecting these two canals by way of a boat lift. British Waterways (now Scottish Canals) were keen to present a visionary solution taking full advantage of the opportunity to create a truly spectacular and fitting structure that would suitably commemorate the Millennium and act as an iconic symbol for years to come.
The resultant, a perfectly balanced structure that is The Falkirk Wheel - the world's first and only rotating boat lift - was the eventual outcome of our collaboration with a design team that combined international experience of joint venture contractor Morrison-Bachy-Soletanche with leading specialists from Ove Arup Consultants, Butterley Engineering and Scotland-based RMJM architects.

You can even get a glimpse of the Kelpies at the top of the wheel.

What's a Kelpie...well a mystical water-borne equine creature, of course.

More images from the Falkirk Wheel: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Scotland-2015/Stirling-Castle-Falkirk-Wheel/Falkirk-Wheel/


Back to Glasgow and a quick freshening up before we head to Dram! for a quick bite and some Scottish Folk Music.
A few of us head to the West End with Ronnie. Jay and I have the fish and chips. I try "The Whisky of The Moment"-Jura 10 year old single malt. Another quite good Scotch!

After dinner we move into the Wee Dram-a section set up for music and comedy shows. Tonight is Folk Music. Musicians from around Glasgow come and "sit in" for an evening of music and camaraderie. Loads of fun for all.




Back to the hotel for our early morning lobby call to make our way slowly back to Vermont.

Edinburgh and the Castles of Scotland
Day 11 March 29 Stirling Castle, Falkirk Wheel, Folk Music at Dram!
March 19-30, 2015
Copyright ©2015 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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Tour images: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Scotland-2015
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