Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Stirling and the Witches Craig.

On arriving at the Witches Craig Caravan and Camping Park you are given a wee brochure that explains the reason for campsites name. In the 17th century Scotland was gripped by a fear of Witches. The ruins of the nearby Logie Kirk, a short walking distance from the campsite, date back to 1178 and to this day are an eerie place shrouded in mystery. It is alleged that a coven of Witches was based in the Ochil Hills behind the Kirk. The most prominent of the hills is known as Carly (Witches) Crag. In the 18th century a minister at Logie is said to have spotted a cloven hoofed Devil dancing with the Witches.

Witches Craig Camping and Caravan Site.

But thankfully this first class campsite certainly does not feel haunted and the only Witches you will see, hopefully, are the ones on sale in the parks reception. The family run Camping Park has won many awards and you can really see why. The toilets and showers are kept very clean and warm, and have music playing. There's a children's play park, a laundry, dishwashing facilities and free Wi-Fi. But the main reason for staying at this site is its close proximity to National Wallace Monument and the city of Stirling with is historical castle both a short bus journey from the stop by the New Logie Kirk.
New Logie Kirk.

Stirling’s well-preserved cobbled Old Town has a great many historic building and most can be found on the way up to the castle. These include the Tollbooth, built in 1705 as the Towns administrative centre and now used for arts including live music, the Church of the Holy Rude, the 600 year old parish church where James VI was crowned in 1567, Cowane’s Hospital, originally built as a almshouse in 1637, the Star Pyramid and of cause the ruined Mars Wark, the Earl of Mar former stately house . On the opposite side of the winding street is the grand residence of Archibald Campbell, the 9th Earl of Argyll known as Argyll’s Lodging. 
The Tollbooth.

Church of the Holy Rude.

Cowan's Hospital.

The Star Pyramid.

Mars Wark.

Argyall's Lodging.

Then we come to Stirling Castle one of the most favoured residences of Scotland’s Kings and Queens’s right up until it became a garrisoned fortress in the 17th century. While in Royal hands it played a key role in the Wars of Independence between 1296 and 1357 including The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 when William Wallace and Andrew Murray inflicted a humiliating defeat on a much larger English invading force., and not forgetting The Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314 when King Robert the Bruce gave Edward II English army another bloody nose.

Stirling Castle.

The Castles frontage created by James IV

Queen Annes Garden.

James IV Great Hall

The statue of James V.

The Kings Old Building.

The Chapel Royal built by James VI.

The Kitchens.

The castle is full of history and does take a complete day to see it all but its well worth it, try and go on one of the free tours it really helps your understanding of what Castle’s all about.

The Grand Battery.

Robert the Bruce still stands guard over the Castle.

National Wallace Monument was built with public subscription between 1861 and 1869 to honour William Wallace who in 1305 gave his life for his country. An English court, which he did not recognise, tried him and found him guilty of treason, he was hanged, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered at Smithfield in London.  

William Wallace and Sword.

The Gothic tower is 67 metres high, has a spiral staircase that consists of 246 steps and has 5 levels.  The lowest is the Keepers Lodge, then come’s the Hall of Arms which explorers the life of Wallace and his glorious victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. The 3rd level is the Hall of Heroes that explains how poets and writers transformed our hero into the legend we know today. Also on display is Wallace’s sword. The penultimate level is The Royal Chamber, which explains how the Monument came to be built 500 years after his death. The Crown Spire is the top-level and offers dynamic 360-degree views over Stirling and the surrounding countryside including the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. After you have descended the 246 steps there is a picnic area and a woodland walk that will eventually take you down to the restaurant adjoining the reception area.

The Wallace monument from the Castle.

The Gothic Tower.

The main entrance to the Monument and the Keepers Lodge.

The very last full day of our five-week travels had arrived and it was decided to go up into the Ochil hills and walk up to the peak of Dumyat. The start of our walk was from the car park at the conservation village of Blairlogie. The first section of our climb to the 1374ft peak was quite wet and very steep but once you joined the main path is was not so bad, although still pretty wet. At the top is a memorial to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. A trig point and a cairn with a beacon on top that has been filled with stones. The walk back takes you passed a ruined homestead and on to the Shefiffmuir Road which was the site of the famous 1715 battle between the Jacobite’s and the Hanoverian Army. Following this road downhill you will come the Old Logie Kirk.

Ochill Hills.

Steep walk up.

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Memorial.

The Trig Point.

The Cairn Beacon.

A wee sign outside the Kirkyard explains that the Parish of Logie is one of the oldest parishes in Scotland dating from between 1124 and 1153 when King David I of Scotland divided the country into parishes for administration and advancement of the Christian faith. A suggestion would be to go to Blairmains Farm Shop and Coffee Bothy for some well-earned refreshment.

The Old Logie Church.

The Stirling area is a very picturesque and interesting area of Scotland that I would recommend you to visit and remember that it has one of the best campsites I have had the pleasure of pitching up in.

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