I was prepared with my mountaineering parka and I'm truly thankful because during my 3 days in Scotland it only really seemed to stop raining in the evenings, or if you're up early you can see the sunshine over the mountains, they're usually covered in rolling mist again by 7am though so you'll have to be an early bird.
We stayed in the unromantically named Stirling Management Centre but don't let the title fool you or the fact that it's in the grounds of the University of Stirling because there are 300 acres of parkland, a loch, a castle and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at, Looby lost count of baby animals and birds because we saw so many, we particularly loved the Oyster Catcher family who would come out in the evenings and run around like bird versions of John Cleese complete with a comedy strut, the night we saw them warning off a rabbit was quite hilarious!
Our accommodation was described as basic but it was lovely, Molton Brown toiletries in the bath room, a refreshment tray complete with biscuits which we never ate because they were banana and butterscotch flavour (euch, do they not know that bananas are evil?) We ate in the hotel restaurant on one night and the bar on another and the food was amazing, I never did find out who chef Raymond was but his name's all over the menu! We stayed at the Stirling Management Centre 3 nights and commuted to both Perth (30 mins) and Dundee (1 hour) by train, it's simply a great place to base yourself if you want to explore Scotland as it's also got direct links to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
On our arrival after a lunch in the bar we decided to climb the National Wallace monument, not for the fainthearted, 246 steps and when you get to the car park it looks like quite a walk up the hill but luckily there's a little shuttle every 10 minutes or so and you know what, the 246 steps could be worse, at least there are rooms some of the way up for a sit, my legs were still jelly when we got back down though!
Shall we have some photos then?
The National Wallace Monument, yes it really is about as high as you can get!
The panoramic views from the top of the National Wallace Monument are completely worth the 246 steps to get to the top
oh yes, I forgot to mention that we met William Wallace himself, I believe he visits on weekends and school holidays
Looby really is a wonderful travel companion, I shall miss having her with me in the next few weeks but look forward to her joining in with more cities when it's the summer holidays
back at the Stirling Management centre we went out for a walk around the loch, the views are simply amazing, even if you work within this beautiful campus you must take time out just to stop and experience it, quieten your mind and listen to the sounds of nature all around you.
and yes those are fluffy heilan coo earmuffs she's wearing, she really is a bonkers child, totally off the wall but you should also note that she tells me off more often for being silly
There's even a castle in the middle of the campus grounds, I don't think there are going to be many places like this.
Stirling Castle sits on the hill and it's somewhere i really wanted to go but there just wasn't time, we could have gone this morning but after 3 days of constant walking, climbing and documenting all we wanted to do was get back on the train.
This is the river at which runs through the Bridge of Allan, a pretty little village which is just next to the university, allow a 20 minute stroll to get to the centre
Midnight the Dragon, no idea, it's on the campus but his name is about as much as I know!
and so that was Stirling, city 9 of 69, next on our journey to document and photograph all 69 cities of the UK we'll visit Perth and I can tell you that it's another city I'd love to live in but it does seem to rain rather often!
There's only 9 days left to jump on board and not only pre-order the book but say you were one the people who helped to make it so visit igg.me/at/ukcityscapes without any further ado!
1 more thing, I want to say a massive thank you to my newest business investor RLM Direct who is getting involved with the whole project for the next year, I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot more about Rebecca and her wonderful business but if you need telesales or some leaflets posting for your business then that's the lady you want to speak to.
If you would like to come aboard and get a great business opportunity you can find out more information here