Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Grouch's take the British Isles by Land and by Sea! Part 9

The day after the fantastic Edinburgh military tattoo saw us loading onto a bus to head to Stirling castle and the site of the battle of Bannockburn, a struggle of significance to the Scots.

The day was so full of interesting sights and experiences, I will break it down into two separate posts.  
The weather was sunny, cool, and breezy.  the countryside reminded me of rural Pennsylvania, with rolling wooded hills, farms, and green grass.  No wonder so many Scots settled in western Pennsylvania!  

So much history exists in Scotland and so much of it is concentrated around Stirling castle.  

Stirling castle was an active military post for many years after the union of Scotland and England and was the regimental home for the Argyll and Sutherland regiment.  Their museum is at the castle, something that I didn't realize until our time was almost up.  I quickly ran through the museum which was packed with relics from historic campaigns that I have read much about: The battle of New Orleans, the Crimean war, the Zulu wars, the Boer war, and of course the two world wars.  

Our tour guide was a delightful Scots woman who kept us in line and moving along while doing it all with a smile.

Off we go!

"The Kelpies"  commemorating the working horses of Scotland from years past.  The are 100ft tall and very dramatic to see!
We arrived at Stirling castle to begin our tour.  Because the castle is no longer a  royal residence we were permitted to take photos to our heart's content.  Since it had been a regimental military post for so many years, the historic furnishings and fittings were long gone.  An effort is ongoing to reproduce the interior as it was when the castle was home to Scotland's king.  

A very realistic rendition of a Argyll and Sutherland highland soldier as he was during the latter stages of the Boer war.  The artist even got the Lee Enfield rifle correctly rendered.   This wonderful memorial is just outside of the castle gate.

The two Grouch sons enter the castle

"Ultima ratio regum"  The Last Argument of Kings

The William Wallace monument seen from Stirlng castle

One of the docents dressed in period costume and playing the role of someone from the era.   Others were scattered about the castle to answer questions and explain what life was life for them at that time.

I wish I had known this was here sooner!

Zulu war relics

Taken from a church roof at Balaklava during the Crimean war.  For those not in the know, this was the war that resulted in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"   Soldiers are incorrigible souvenir hunters.

From the Boer war

The Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment, Queen Elizabeth II

The previous Colonel-in-Chief, Princess Louisa, daughter of Queen Victoria and much beloved by the regiment.

A grand experience with only one complaint - simply not enough time to see it all!  Scotland is calling to us and someday we will return.

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