Tuesday 24th July
Today we are leaving Fort William. For the first time since we got here the clouds are clearing over Ben Nevis and we actually got to see some of the mountain. We were opting to take the picturesque route through Glen Coe, around Loch Lomond into Stirling to Stirling Castle and the William Wallace Monument and then into Glasgow ready for a photo tour tonight. Yes a little crazy.
As we were driving around Loch Lomond through the The Trossachs National Park we saw heaps of walkers. Some had a small back pack, whilst others looked like they were carrying camping equipment. It is clearly an area with many walks and appears to be a very popular walk. Loch Lomond was beautiful and very scenic, however the road is narrow and very busy. It was a little on the difficult side to drive. Phil was quite grateful when we got back onto main roads that were the correct width.
We headed to Stirling and our first sight of the castle was amazing. It is on the top of the only hill in Stirling and having command of that would give you views of 360 degrees. We found somewhere to park eventually as the car park was full. Luckily it was just outside this little café called the The Smithy. We went in there and ordered some food. They had cream of mushroom soup – so I had to try that. It was amazing.
After lunch, we headed up to the castle. It was a long walk uphill. We just took it slow and steady and got there. Mum decided not to go into the Castle, so Phil and I went. It was amazing. I had heard about the unicorn tapestries. We went into the rooms where they were and we were amazed at the detail. It was truly stunning.
We had a look at some other things and then headed out. Phil went down and got the car whilst I had a look in the gift shop. I got a book on Stirling Castle. Phil picked us up and then we went to the William Wallace Monument. This was again around 12.50 GBP. Mum and I weren’t that interested so we waited in the cafeteria whilst Phil went up the hill. It was a massive walk up to the top and then he also went to the top of the monument. Phil really enjoyed this. He has been interested in this aspect of Scottish History, although he did expect to see Mel Gibson or Rob Roy come bursting over the hills as Mel Gibson did in Braveheart.
We then headed off to Glasgow. There were some closed streets so it was a little difficult to get to our hotel. We found it and checked in. Phil took the car to return it and then got an uber back. We had a little while to relax before the photo tour – about 30 minutes.
We met Tom at the hotel and we headed into the city of Glasgow. He showed us some of the street art and the backstreets of Glasgow. He explained how important the city was in the time of the Industrial age and the importance of Glasgow, and then how the city declined for a while with high unemployment. The turning point came when they hosted the the Garden Festival in 1988 and the city was spotlighted in a positive way due to the success of this event.
Since then Glasgow has worked to improve its reputation as an up and coming city again. We headed down to the River Clyde. There was some street art down there too. I loved the bridges with the afternoon light shining on them. After taking photos of many of the bridges, we headed into the park. Tom was explaning that Glasgow has lots of parks and green spaces throughout the city.
He took us to this building which was stunning. He explained that a person wanted to build a factory, but nobody wanted a factory near their home. He then presented a design to them, based on The Doge’s Palace in Venice. They agreed to having the building there. It was stunning – especially with the afternoon sun shining on it.
As we were heading back into the city, we saw a fountain that depicted all of the countries of the Commonwealth.
We were shattered by this time, so headed to a bar to get a drink. We had a lovely conversation with Tom. We took some more photos as we headed back to the hotel.