The city of Stirling was the site of many a battle between Scots and English, in the centuries before the 2 countries unified, as its bridge over the River Forth was the main entry point to the north of Scotland.
The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 was one of the few Scottish victories, as the English armies were inevitably larger and more powerful.
The Scots, led by their great military leader William Wallace, outmanoeuvred the English by splitting the English army in two – with half on one side and half on the other side of the bridge. 5000 English soldiers were slaughtered.
The anniversary of the battle, 11th September, is celebrated every year by the Society of William Wallace, and other supporters of Scottish independence.
Wallace was later betrayed to the English, captured, and tried in London. He suffered a terrible death – on 23rd August 1305 he was hanged, disembowelled, beheaded and quartered.
You may remember him from the 1995 film “Braveheart”.
If you visit the monument on the anniversary of Wallace’s death, you will have the chance to see actors play the parts of Wallace and his English accuser.
There was a competition to design a monument to commemorate Wallace, with over 100 entries. It is 67 metres high and was completed in 1869. It stands on the remains of an ancient volcano.
You can climb to the top of the Monument, visiting several exhibition rooms along the way. From the top, there are stunning views of Stirling, the River Forth and the Ochil hills.