Having just spent an enjoyable but tiring weekend with Chris, Claire, Nicole and Rachael… walking, rugby and a kids Halloween party… we’re now exploring Central Scotland. Today we’ve seen three very different and impressive structures… the Antonine Wall, The Falkirk Wheel and Stirling Castle.
The Antonine Wall is a 60-kilometre (37-mile) rampart, which was built by the Romans around AD140. It stretched across Scotland from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth and was defended by forts and ditches, including defensive pits, which I hadn’t seen before. We wandered along the ‘wall’ at Rough Castle where it’s well preserved.
We then headed to the Falkirk Wheel, not far away. I was far more fascinated with this boat lift than I’d expected. It’s an impressive and elegant feat of engineering that gently swings canal boats between the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal, which have a height difference of 35 metres, equivalent to 11 traditional locks.
We were lucky to arrive just as the tourist boat was being lifted and, having had a walk to the top, saw it return about half an hour later… wonderful to watch.
Our final visit of the day was to Stirling Castle, perched on a rocky crag high above the plains where many Scottish battles have been fought. The present castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries.
We joined a guided tour and then explored the buildings on our own, seeing the palace apartments and kitchens. The carvings for the ceiling of the king’s bedroom were interesting, as were the frescos in the chapel, the Renaissance gargoyles and statues on the Royal Palace, and the ‘king’s gold’ colour of the Great Hall, made using ochre.
We’ve been lucky to dodge most of the heavy showers and we’re now parked in a Forestry Commission car park near Dunkeld. We’re hoping for a long walk tomorrow so I hope the weather’s kind to us again.