We asked some locals where we should head if we wanted a day trip out of Glasgow. We had heard that Loch Lomond was lovely (and the eponymous song kept playing in my head) but unfortunately the ferries that run along it’s bonny bonny banks wouldn’t begin operating until springtime. So we decided to go to Stirling Castle, which several people recommended (though they admitted it wasn’t as nice as Edinburgh Castle – but it was much, much closer, and visitable in a day).

We took the train there, which cost the equivalent of $12 (U.S.) each, and walked through the town and up the hill to Stirling Castle.

It really is lush and green - but the cloudiness doesnt really reflect that.

It really is lush and green - but the cloudiness doesn't really reflect that.

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The town is really quite lovely.

The town is really quite lovely.

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Oh, and did I mention it was friggin freezing? It was.

Oh, and did I mention it was friggin freezing? It was.

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At the top of the hill you’ll find Stirling Castle and, across the way, an old cemetery. For the record, I love old cemeteries, and this was had the added bonus of reminding me a lot of the one where Bod grew up in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (if you have not read it, do so immediately).

My husband, god bless him, is a good man. Despite the freezing cold he let roam around the cemetary talking photos while he lost feeling in his fingers.

My husband, god bless him, is a good man. Despite the freezing cold he let me roam around the cemetery talking photos while he lost feeling in his fingers.

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It reminded me of the cemetary outside the haunted mansion at Disneyland, only real.

It reminded me of the cemetery outside the haunted mansion at Disneyland, only real.

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Note the prerequisite creepy winding path

Note the prerequisite creepy winding path

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I would also like to take a moment to note, before going on to the next few photos, that something was seriously effed up with my hair on this day. I’m not really sure what was going on, but I had decided to pin my fringe back, and, since I had my hood up for most of the time (as it was freezing) the result was something like a shorter, lighter version of Snooki‘s hair from Jersey Shore. Behold:

Hold on: it will get worse.

My hair got worse, but more on that later.

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We then walked on to Stirling castle, and found that our timing had been perfect: we arrived just as a tour was starting with the most magical tour guide, ever.

He had a mullet, tartan pants, AND an unintelligible accent. Rand spent the rest of the afternoon trying to imitate it.

He had a mullet, tartan pants, AND an unintelligible accent. Rand spent the rest of the afternoon trying to imitate it.

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Sterling Castle.

Stirling Castle.

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Stirling Castle has been through a lot: the first records of it are from 1100, and since then it’s seen the coronation of Scottish Kings and Queens, including Mary, Queen of Scots, and played a key role in the Scottish Wars of Independence. There have been over a dozen battles and sieges that took place at Stirling Castle, and the Battle of Stirling Bridge (where William Wallace defeated English troops in 1296) took place nearby. The English would eventually lay claim to the castle again, a fact that’s obviously a sore spot with the Scots – they prefer to talk about the battles they did win than those they lost. Which is pretty understandable.

By the time we were done with the tour (which leaves you feeling a little ticked off at the English, whether rightly so or not), the day had cleared a bit, and the views from the castle are gorgeous.

Dont let the sun fool you: it was still freezing.

Don't let the sun fool you: it was still freezing.

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And my hair managed to be normal for at least one photo! Whoo-hoo!

And my hair managed to be normal for at least one photo! Whoo-hoo!

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We also walked around the gift ship and a few other little museums around the castle. We saw this portrait, which had me in absolute stitches:

He looks so dashing, but his knees are so damn dainty. I absolutely died.

He looks so dashing, but his knees are so damn dainty. I absolutely died.

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And this, which I really should have bought. I mean, I joke around that Sean Connery is a Scottish national hero, but to have it actually be true? Delightful.

Its even a photo from his Jame Bond days. Holy crap.

He's sharing a cover with Robbie Burns. I think I need a minute.

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After all our milling about, we were sort of dying of hunger, so we stopped by the cafe near Stirling Castle. While the food is nothing to blog home about (and yet here I am), it was cheap and fast. The desserts were fantastic sugar-laden confections, and the pies weren’t too bad. Plus, the cafe has air vents in the floor that shoot up at you, so you feel a little bit like a super model while you are eating lunch:

I attempt to do Blue Steel. Best leave this sort of thing to the professionals.

I attempt to do "Blue Steel". Best leave this sort of thing to the professionals.

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Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre? THEYRE THE SAME FACE. I feel like Im taking crazy pills.

"Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre? THEY'RE THE SAME FACE. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."

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All in all, a great day trip. I highly recommend putting on some warm clothes and comfortable shoes and visiting Stirling Castle. Unless you are starving, though, I’d skip the cafe. Because while affordable and convenient, any meal that starts with $5 pies will end with this:

I will spare you the mortifying exchange I had with the pharmacist while purchasing these.

I will spare you the mortifying exchange I had with the pharmacist while purchasing these.

But more on that (and our trip to Wallace Monument, just across the way from Stirling Castle) later.

Full list of categories:  Attractions » City Guide
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Comments (8)

  1. 1
    Philip says:

    As I was reading this I had a few thoughts that I was going to share, but now all I want to know is, did it stop diarrhoea in less than one hour? Did it? Looking forward to your follow-up.

  2. 2
    Deanna says:

    I’m trying to imagine someone calling you Snooki in a Stuart Mackenzie sort of voice. “Snooki! Move! Now!”

  3. 3
    Everywhereist says:

    “Snooki! Pants! Now” just might be my new catchphrase.

    And yes, it did do what it claimed in just ONE dose, but it didn’t do anything for the crippling cramps that came from eating that miserable pie.

  4. 4
    randfish says:

    I have literally had the sniffles ever since that day. Maybe I need to go back to Scotland in order to recover.

  5. 5
    Candice says:

    I love love love love Scotland. And creepy cemeteries. And accents! And your hair!

  6. 6

    I’m with you Candice – I just adore Scotland, and I love to hear the Scottish people speak…..and I love creepy cemeteries, but not at night. And Geraldine that is TOTALLY ‘blue steel’…..totally!

  7. 7
    Lita says:

    We recently got back from a trip to Scotland and Stirling castle. we also visited the old town cemetery behind the castle. we were told by the guide that there was a gravestone of John Macfarlane in there and apparently he is related to someone important (or someone quite famous). I cannot remember who it was and my friend is a Macfarlane from Scotland and I wanted to pass this information on to her. Did you go with a guide from the castle here and if so, did he mention this information to you?

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  1. The Everywhereist » Blog Archive » The National Wallace Monument, Scotland - 10. Mar, 2010

    [...] are hard to keep up with), we decided to go to Wallace Monument on the same day that we visited Stirling Castle, since the two are very close to one another. This meant all of the [...]

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