Stirling Castle, Fortress of Scottish Dreams
The castle in Stirling, where the Lowlands meet the Highlands, is the historic home of Scottish kings and queens. For centuries they said, “He who holds Stirling, holds Scotland.” Surrounded by pivotal battlefields, it’s filled with history.
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We're driving across the Lowlands to the castle of Stirling. This historic castle is at the crossroads of Scotland: midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Rising above a plain where the Lowlands meet the Highlands, it's no surprise that this strategic castle has hosted many of the biggest names (and biggest battles) of Scottish history.
Stirling was the seat of the kings and queens of Scotland. Imagine — Mary, Queen of Scots passed through these imposing gates. To the Scots, this patriotic heart of Scotland is like Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and the Alamo, all rolled into one.
From these ramparts, you can see where the three pivotal battles of Scotland's 13th- and 14th-century Wars of Independence from English rule took place: the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where, against all odds, the courageous William Wallace defeated the English army; the Battle of Falkirk, where Wallace was then toppled by a vengeful English king; and the Battle of Bannockburn, where — in the wake of Wallace's defeat — Robert the Bruce rallied the Scots to kick out the English once and for all (well, at least for a few generations).
It was said, "He who holds Stirling, holds Scotland." This castle was the preferred home of Scottish kings and queens in the Middle Ages and Renaissance — and their 500-year-old statues still decorate the walls. In the 16th century, the Stuart monarchs turned this castle into a showpiece of Scotland — and a symbol of one-upmanship against England.
Much later, in the 18th century, Scotland was embroiled in a civil war: Scottish rebels, called the "Jacobites," wanted to put a Catholic Stuart on the throne in London. They failed, and the British military took over Scotland's beloved Stirling Castle. It became a garrison — filled with Redcoats.
To this day, Stirling Castle provides a base for the British — not the Scottish — military. In 1746, these vary cannon fired on Scottish rebels. And you'll notice the castle still flies the Union Jack of the United Kingdom.