Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Willy Wallace Backpackers

Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stirling castle as postcard-worthy as Edinburgh castle, perched on a tall rocky outcrop above the town it is pretty hard to miss. The town itself is lovely, although the pretty stone buildings seem to be all shops these days and the inhabitants all camera wielding tourists.
About half an hour away by bus is the town of Falkirk, home of the Falkirk wheel. This mesmerising invention solves the problem of navigating two canals with a 35m height difference without numerous locks (I hear its hard to get water to flow uphill). Billed as an 'engineering marvel' the wheel only uses 1.5kWh per turn, and seems to be used mostly by the 'ride the Falkirk wheel' tourist boats and only occasionally by anyone else. The wooded areas around the wheel and along the canals also made for good wandering, with the ancient Roman Antonine wall and castle ruins nearby as well as friendly Scots who stopped to chat.
Other nearby places we visited included the town of Alva, set against a backdrop of bare green mountains with a walking trail along Alva Glen, a valley with a couple of waterfalls;
Callander, a town in the Trossachs region. We climbed Callander Craig, the high ridge behind the town, for spectacular views out over the lochs and mountains and walked to Bracklinn falls;
Doune Castle, a perfect square four turret castle in miniature. Most exciting though, it features in Monty Python and the holy grail as Camelot, Swamp Castle and Castle Anthrax. Considering how small it is, I'm not sure how they managed to find enough angles to use it as 3 castles;
The William Wallace Monument, a big dramatic and rather ugly tower sitting atop the other rocky hill and always visible from Stirling town. 

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