“…but they will never take our freedom!”

UK

We covered three Scottish castles in three days – Urquhart, Stirling and Edinburgh. The castles were all cool, and there is a massive amount of information, but I found myself focussing on cannons, fireplaces and William Wallace.

I’ll keep this blog short (Em just laughed) and give you my favourites of each, although it was hard to decide with the fireplaces (Em laughing again).

The best cannon was undoubtedly Mons Meg at Edinburgh, a gorilla of a siege cannon presented to King James II in 1457 and used in war against the English. She could fire a 150kg gunstone up to two miles (as it did in 1558). But it was highly impractical, requiring 100 men to haul it and they could only achieve three miles in a day. Glorious.

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Mons Meg

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Cannons at Stirling

In my opinion, the best fireplace was also at Edinburgh and I have taken notes of this one for my dream home with a medieval grand hall and armour collection / man pad. Here it is – I have many more photos of other examples if anyone is interested.

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And finally William Wallace. The best bit of Stirling Castle is where you stand at the edge of the fortified walls overlooking the river below. The audio guide describes the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11 September 1297, where Wallace and Andrew Moray strategically defeated the Earl of Surrey and his 3,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry.

From the Castle you stare across to the Wallace Monument in remembrance of Scotland’s favorite son.

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Unfortunately for us, central Edinburgh is a bit of a bomb site at present, as they have ripped up the main roads to build tram lines. It will be great when it’s finished though (2014) – trams from the city centre to the airport.

Goodbye to Scotland today. We have arrived in London and picked up our Olympics tickets. The atmosphere in London is pretty incredible. We had a curry near Piccadilly Circus tonight and everyone in the restaurant was here for the Olympics. Staying with Jeremy (an old rowing mate) in Fulham for the night and heading to Banbury (near Oxford) tomorrow afternoon to stay with family friends.

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Stirling Castle

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