Stirling is a short train ride away from Edinburgh and the perfect place to spend the day. The cute little city is best known for it’s castle, Stirling Castle. Situated atop a crag, the steep cliffs and expansive views made it the perfect place to defend a castle. A few of the original 14th century buildings are still standing today, alongside many others from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Before Scotland and England united, Stirling Castle was the most used Scottish royal residence. Many queens and kings of Scotland were crowned here, including Mary, Queen of Scots. Unlike many of the castles we’ve visited in our travels, this one actually felt lived in. The beautiful and ornate woodwork and decor make it feel like a castle that people cared about as a home, not just a fortress.
Because of the position on the crag, the castle has stunning views of Stirling and the surrounding area.
After seeing the castle, we walked back down the steep hill to town and headed over to the Highland Games. Pro tip: The line to park at the castle was as long as the road. Park in town and take the bus up. And don’t walk from the castle to the Highland Games, it’s pretty far and, being Scotland, will most likely rain.
The Highland Games was an all day event, with food vendors, shopping and, of course, the games. The games range from typical track and field to traditional Scottish games. They also have a dancing competition, and it was super cute to watch. We watched the hammer throw and the Bruce Challenge, an event specific to Stirling’s Highland Games and named after Robert the Bruce. Competitors in the Bruce Challenge carry two boulders weighing 164.5 kg (362 pounds) as far as they can. The winner went 134 meters (439 feet)!
We really wanted to see the caber toss (log toss) but they were the last event, starting four hours after we arrived. Once it started downpouring, we knew we wouldn’t make it that long and headed back to Edinburgh.
Despite the rain, we had a great time in Stirling. The castle was one of our favorites that we’ve been to and the games were really neat to see.
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