Day 1: Stirling Castle and the Falkirk Wheel

So, on the Thursday morning of our trip we awoke in the Inverallan Lodge B&B in Bridge of Allan to a delicious breakfast of porridge, followed by the full Scottish. We then made our way out to Stirling Castle.

We had somehow failed to notice that the Thursday, the 21st April, was also the Queen’s birthday. As such we weren’t expecting the crowds that met us at Stirling castle. However, once we’d finally been found a parking space the mistake actually worked on our favour, as were were treated to a marvellous 21 gun salute!

After which we ventured around the castle and grounds, enjoying the views of the town (and the famous Wallace Monument), and visiting the tapestry studio, in which a series of medieval tapestries telling the story of the hunt of the unicorn are currently being recreated, to be hung in the Queen’s Inner Hall.

After the castle we grabbed a quick bite in the cafe then jumped in the car to hit the Falkirk Wheel:

The Falkirk Wheel replaces the 11 locks that used to connect the Forth & Clyde and the Union canals at the site. A huge contraption that looks reminiscent of something from Jules Verne’s imagination, it literally seals off a chunk of canal at the top and bottom simultaneously, then replaces one with the other. It’s that simple! And the view from the top is well worth the trip!

After the Falkirk Wheel we tackled the rush-hour traffic going into Edinburgh and checked into the Grassmarket Hotel. Sadly, this turned out to be a bit of a dump, with a door that didn’t shut properly, a bathroom door that was swinging loose on its runners and with a broken lock, and a double bed that was in fact two singles of different heights pushed together, Still, we were only looking for somewhere to lay our heads for the night, as we were going straight out to see my friends, Christina and The Architect, for dinner! As always they put on a fantastic spread and the company was suitably scintillating – our thanks to them for a delightful evening!

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