Today we visited two castles.
First Stirling Castle. Well worth the visit and much preferable to Edinburgh castle in my opinion. There are lovely views from the castle and inside there is plenty to see and much to discover. Although busy it didn't feel crowded like Edinburgh castle did. We also came away actually feeling we'd learned something too. The restored great hall and royal rooms are wonderful...
(Most of the buildings of the castle were built during the reign of King James V. He became King aged just 17 months when his father King James VI was killed at the battle of Flodden in 1513. King James V was the father of Mary Queen of Scots who succeeded to the throne at the age of 6 days in December 1542. Just over forty four years later in February 1587 she was beheaded by the order of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England. The son of Mary Queen of Scots had become King James the VI of Scotland in 1567 (Mary being forced to abdicate) and, in the absence of a direct heir from Queen Elizabeth I, he also became King James I of England under the Union of the Crown in 1603; the two countries were not united politically till the union of parliaments in 1707. A fascinating period of history full of intrigue, deception, and betrayal.)
Then we travelled a few miles out of Stirling to visit Doune castle. Some may recognise it as the location for the Monty Python film "The Holy Grail". Not as grand as Stirling, indeed my first impressions were a little adversely affected by having just visited Stirling, but once inside the actual building there were several rooms and lots of staircases to explore. We ate our picnic lunch on the roof, great views again. As an added bonus there were lots of swallows flitting around the grounds too.
Then home to have fish suppers and Irn Bru for tea. Perfect!
Before the Union two unicorns supported the Scottish arms.
Following the formation of the United Kingdom in the Act of Union in
1707 the royal coat of arms of the UK are supported by a unicorn and a
lion - the unicorn representing Scotland and the lion representing
England. Interestingly there are two versions of these arms - one for use
outwith Scotland, where the lion is on the left and the unicorn on the
right, and one for use in Scotland where the positions are reversed. (Images from Wikipedia)
"Nemo me impune lacessit" means "Wha daur meddle wi' me". So there you go.
Loved this post - it is many years since I visited Stirling Castle. I always feel that the castle calls to you as you travel down the M9 standing proudly on its high hill - 'come visit me'.
Lovely pictures, and was particularly interested in the history re: the Unicorn.
Stirling is definitely more fun and castle-y than Edinburgh, plus not mobbed by tourists at this time of year. I haven't been there for years - last visit was to see a Suzuki violin group from the States play a concert in the great hall. Fantastic acoustic!
Doune always seems very forlorn to me.
Such a beautiful and informative post today, the castles are so gorgeous, old and full of history. If those walls could only speak.
What an interesting place to visit. It's fascinating to learn about the coats of arms as well. Thank you for sharing, it was very informative.
Thank you for the words and pictures, you write so well and inform so easily.
I know Stirling Castle to be great for a visit but I didn't know about Doune Castle - another one for the list.
Unusual gargoyle coming out the middle of a wall.
Great photos and some interesting history, thank you! I do love a good castle visit. Bethx
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