Thursday 11 August 2016
11.08.2016 - 11.08.2016 15 °C
Finding accommodation on this trip has been difficult due to school holidays. Everywhere we go, things are booked out. We managed to phone and secure a bed and breakfast yesterday morning. The room was spacious, breakfast was good and the lady was very friendly. However, I am not sure if I like this B&B lifestyle. We were disturbed with a creaking floor followed by the shower at 2am. This was just after the people from ANZ card rang me to sort out my card!! So, a restless night was had.
The rain had stopped when we got up so we were pleased that it was not so cold -car showed 14.5⁰C. Headed straight for Sainsbury’s to get fresh rolls and ham for lunch. That’s another problem – no fridges in the rooms. After getting the food, we stopped at the old Stirling Bridge, the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The original wooden bridge was said to be instrumental in the defeat of the English army in 1297, the battle that shot William Wallace to fame. The bridge that stands there now dates from fifteenth century and is one of the best examples of a medieval bridge still standing in Scotland. It crosses the River Forth 25 metres downstream from the original.
We had intended going to the William Wallace memorial yesterday but changed our mind and went to the castle seeing that it was raining. In hindsight, that was a good move. We found the ticket area for the memorial. That’s another thing. You see a sign for what you want but then there is nothing and it all comes down to guess work. I knew that we had a climb ahead of us and sure enough, it was a great cardiovascular workout for the morning. On top of the rise where the memorial stands, Abbey Craig, the wind was blowing and it was cool. It was built in 1869. The monument itself is massive, rising 67 metres into the air. If the walk up the hill wasn’t enough, we then had 246 steps to climb to the top. All I could think was, “And we paid them to do this”. The steps weren’t straight but wound up inside a small turret. You get quite dizzy. Fortunately, there were several floors that you could stop at to catch your breath. One gave the history behind the monument and why Wallace was considered a martyr, one showcased other notable people including Robert the Bruce and the other floor gave us some statistics on the time/size comparisons etc. The top floor was open and extremely windy. It gave views around all four sides over Sterling and the surrounding area. As I said, it had stopped raining but the cloud still clung low to the mountains but it was certainly worth the climb.
Our trip to St Andrews was uneventful and took around two hours. We were able to book straight into our hotel which was great. I had booked this back in April – Fairmont St Andrews – and the name has not let us down. Our room is spacious and clean with a fridge and tea making facilities. We had a rest and then took a drive into the town of St Andrew’s itself. It is a lovely old city. The Old Golf Course looks brilliant. We did a bit of shopping and had a look at St Andrews Castle then enjoyed the drive back to our hotel which is a little way out of town but surrounded by several golf courses that run along the coast line. Brilliant even with cloudy, rainy skies.