Today, we would finally be venturing out of the city, to Stirling castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned in 1542.
This morning we enjoyed a scenic drive out to Stirling, first stopping at the Devil’s Pulpit which, if you watch Outlander, you might be familiar with. To visit the Devil’s Pulpit, you have to park a little way up the road and walk along the side of said (fairly busy) road. Once you arrive, you will notice that it is located in a steep ravine. I did not realize at the time that there are stairs leading down, so we just viewed it from above. It is probably for the best anyway, I am clumsy and it had been raining so I am sure the stairs were very slippery. I am hoping that next time we visit Scotland, we can go back on a dry day and look for the stairs.
After the Devil’s Pulpit, we decided to stop for breakfast/early lunch before heading into Sterling, we stopped at a favorite of our friends, The Woodhouse. I was able to enjoy more delicious Scottish salmon, this time on my favorite food, eggs benedict. My husband tried the black pudding on his sandwich… I was never brave enough to try it. I also had my first taste of Scottish tablet, a super delicious confection made with condensed milk. I would highly recommend The Woodhouse if you are in the Sterling area, they also have a great little shop with gifts and food.
The next stop was Stirling castle…. well sort of…. only after much driving around looking for parking. Be prepared, if visiting Stirling castle in the summer, to be parking elsewhere in town. We ended up having to park in a garage by the mall and take a tourist train up to the castle, Stirling was packed! The castle was worth the trouble, being perched up atop a hill, it offers impressive views, it has beautiful gardens, it is also well preserved and offers detailed insight into life in the castle in the sixteenth century.
After touring the castle we walked back to the car, enjoying the lovely town of Stirling and doing a little shopping. We also happened upon Lawson’s pub that surely must have belonged to a long lost relative of mine (I was born a Lawson) but sadly it was out of business.
When we arrived back to the suburbs of the city at our friend’s home, we were chatting and I happened to mention tracing my ancestry, I showed them the parts of my tree with Scottish ancestors, some of who were born in New Kilpatrick. New Kilpatrick church just happened to be very nearby to their home! We stopped at the church, located in the suburb of Bearsden, on our way back into the city. What an amazing thing it is, to be able to visit the very place your distant ancestors walked. Another unexpected surprise, was a visit to some Roman ruins nearby (Bearsden Roman baths) that were neatly tucked into a residential neighborhood.
(I should note to those that may be following along on my journey and that might be confused, that my friends in Glasgow are a couple who live in a home in the suburbs of Glasgow and their daughter and son in law who live in a flat in the West End)
After returning to the city and our hotel, we ended the day with a walk over to Argyle street and dinner at Finneston’s where I had my first order of fish and chips and my husband had some really delicious Scottish mussels. All in all a very busy and enjoyable day!