Sightseeing in Scotland
Historic Scottish Sites
"Scots Wha Hae"
Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!
Robert Burns, 1793
The Battle of Bannockburn took place over 475 years before Robert Burns authored those
opening lines to his ode, time not having extinguished the patriotic flame Bruce's victory
lighted nor dimmed its importance in Scottish history.
On June 23rd and 24th in 1314 Sir Robert Bruce lead an army of 6,000 against King Edward's
army of 17,000 soldiers and heavily armoured knights. Using the land to his advantage (as
Sir William Wallace had often done) Robert the Bruce's brave Scotsmen routed the English
If you ask the meaning of the battle, I cannot compete with Robert Burns;
"Independently of my enthusiasm as a Scotsman, I have rarely met with anything in
history which interests me as a man equal with the story of Bannockburn. A cruel but able
usurper leads the finest army in Europe to extinguish the last spark of freedom among a
great-daring, greatly injured people. Against this, the desperate remnants of a gallant
nation devote themselves to rescue their bleeding country or with her perish. Liberty!
Thou art a prize truly and indeed invaluable, for never canst though be too dearly
Our visit to Bannockburn will include a walk on the battleground and the interpretative
centre which tells the story of Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce and Scotland's hard won
independence, in stirring fashion.
- Culloden Moor
Perhaps no place in Scotland stirs Scottish Highland hearts as does Culloden Moor.
On April 16, 1746 the 5,000 men of Bonnie Prince Charlie's largely Highland army, well
out-numbered and in poor position, were slaughtered by the forces of the Duke of
Cumberland, in less than an hour. The surrounding stories of heroism, brutality and great
courage are legion.
Clan members were buried en-mass according to Clan with simple headstones bearing the Clan
names set atop grass covered mounds. Legend says that although heather may carpet Culloden
Moor (and it does), none shall ever grow on The Graves of The Clans (and it does not).
A walk on the moor, marked with the battle positions of the opposing forces, and only a
little imagination, can make the fateful day seem all too nearly real.
- The Monument to
Sir William Wallace
- If Robert the Bruce lighted the flame of Scottish independence, then Sir William Wallace
gathered the fuel. Wallace, the second son of a minor Laird (and therefore land-less and
originally without title) rose through heroic sacrifice to become the Guardian of Scotland
and perhaps more than any other of his time, was the guardian of the common Scotsman.
Eventually betrayed, tortured and executed in England, and his remains scattered, this
magnificent monument was completed in 1869, in his memory. It's spire, several stories
high, overlooks the site of Wallace's most famous victory at Stirling
Bridge. Its pinnacle is accessible only by climbing seemingly endless stone stairs in
a steep and ever narrowing passageway. Those few brave hearts who reach the top are
rewarded with a truly magnificent view of the River Forth, Stirling Bridge and Stirling
Castle. Among the many displays and exhibits is Sir William Wallace's sword which by
stature alone speaks of Sir William's great size and strength.
It's a fitting monument to Scotland's beloved Braveheart and not to be missed.
- Stirling Bridge
- Stirling Brig, in the shadow of historic Stirling Castle, was
the sight of Sir William Wallace's famous victory over superior English forces. The
victory lead to Sir William Wallace's knighthood and appointment as "Guardian of
Scotland" at a time when Scotland was divided, without a King, and in desperate need
Although Wallace was subsequently defeated at Falkirk by King Edward I, the battle at
Stirling Brig remains ingrained in Scottish memory as a crucial event in Scotland's
The old brig is still there and a favourite stopping place. With the Monument to Sir William Wallace and Stirling
Castle looking down from opposite sides of the River Forth, history abounds and its easy
to imagine the famous battle raging.
- Greyfriars Bobby
- Greyfriars Bobby is the true story of the little Skye terrier so devoted to his
adopted master, that when "Auld Jock" passed away Bobby spent every night for
the next fourteen years sleeping at Jock's graveside in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Famous in his own time for his devotion, Bobby's vigil ended only when he too passed on,
to join his master.
Bobby's courageous story was made famous by Eleanor Atkinson's book written in 1912. A
statue in tribute to Bobby stand's near the spot where each day Auld Jock took Bobby to
the market. And of course, Greyfriars Kirkyard is still there.
Scotland is full of stories of the grand sweep of history, courageous battles, heroics and
patriotism. None though speak as loudly about the power of love and devotion as does the
wonderful story of this shaggy little Skye terrier.
Sentimentalist or not, it would be improper to come to Edinburgh without stopping to say
hello to Bobby.
- If information about something of interest to you is missing, please feel free to let me know. Even if you decide not to "come wi' us", or
are just curious, I'd be happy to help.
- Haste Ye Back!