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Explore Scotland’s Historic Landmarks image header

23rd August 2016 | Regional News

Explore Scotland’s Historic Landmarks

Castle Trails

Welcome to Scotland, an ancient country with a fascinating and complex history, which dates back thousands of years. From tribal Celts, to Roman conquerors, wherever you venture in Scotland, you will find evidence of life from bygone eras.

With endless amounts of castles, cathedrals, battlefields and ancient monuments to explore, Scotland really is the perfect destination for walking. For those looking to relive the past and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s most courageous warriors, we’ve handpicked three historical landmarks in Scotland for you to explore.

Dunnottar Castle

Widely considered to be the most spectacular of all ruined coastal fortresses, Dunnottar Castle is built on top of a gigantic rock and is surrounded on three sides by the North Sea.

The iconic clifftop fortress has a long fascinating history and was home to the Earls Marischal, who were once considered to be one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Over the years, the castle has welcomed some of Scotland’s most influential people, including William Wallace (Scottish knight), Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots), and James Graham (1st Marquis of Montrose).

The easiest way to get up to the fortress, is to start on the Coastal Tourist Route. The 25-minute walk will take you along the picturesque clifftops, past Stonehaven War Memorial (which is well worth a visit) and all the way up to the castle. From the clifftops, you will see an abundance of local wildlife including puffins, fulmar, seals and the occasional dolphin.

Once you arrive at the castle, you will find the famous 17th century Drawing Room. Above the fireplace in the Drawing Room, you will see an inscribed lintel that honours George Ogilvy of Barras, his wife and her kinswoman who stopped the castle from falling into the hands of English military leader Oliver Cromwell during the Civil War. With just 69 men at his disposal, Ogilvy heroically held off Cromwell’s large army for eight months.

Aside from the drawing room, the castle boasts several unrestored rooms and 3.5 acres of beautiful grounds which you can explore. On a sunny day, it’s worth picnicking in the gardens, which overlook the North Sea.

Video sourced from Mark Westguard

Antonine Wall

Almost 2,000 years ago, Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered his men to build the Antonine Wall, which was once the most northern frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain.

Running all the way from modern Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde, the 37 mile (60 km) long wall was a turf fortification that was built on stone foundations. The Wall was 3m (10ft) high and 5m (16ft) wide and was bolstered by wooden palisade. North of the Wall was a large ditch and on the south side, was a road that ran the entire length of the Wall, which allowed Antoninus Pius to move his soldiers quickly.

Despite the passing of time, substantial lengths of the Antonine Wall still remain. The most preserved stretch of the Wall can be found to both the east and west of Watling Lodge in Falkirk, which is perfect for those looking to walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers. Aside from the Wall and just 10 minutes from Watling Lodge, you will find a large open field between the Union Canal and Tamfourhill Wood, which was once a temporary Roman camp. Whilst the camp is no longer visible from the ground, it can still be seen in aerial photographs.

Other great places to see the remains of the Antonine Wall is Rough Castle Fort, Kinneil Estate Museum, Polmonthill, Callendar Park and Seabegs Wood.

The National Wallace Monument

A man who needs no introduction in Scotland, the Monument honours the legend who triumphed over King Edward’s army in 1297. Located in Stirling, the Monument dominates the skyline, overlooking the scene of Scotland’s emphatic victory at The Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Video sourced from Sky Focus

For nearly 150 years, this landmark has attracted visitors from all over the world who visit Sterling to learn the story of Sir William Wallace, patriot, martyr and Scotland’s first National Hero.

The Monument sits on the Abbey Craig, from which legend states that William Wallace watched the congregation of King Edwards army, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge commenced.

The most practical way to reach the Monument is to walk up Causewayhead Road, before crossing straight over at Causewayhead roundabout. After passing the William Wallace pub on your left-hand side, continue up Logie Road until you reach Hillfoots Road. From here, follow the path until you arrive at the National Wallace Monument.

Inside the Tower, visitors will find numerous artefacts on display that belonged to William Wallace, including his famous 5ft, 4in sword which struck fear into the hearts of the English army. Inside the monument there is a Hall of Heroes room, which tells the story of Wallace and other national legends including Robert Bruce, who led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence.

Once you’re back outside the Wallace Monument, take a minute to appreciate the picturesque views which stretch out towards Loch Lomond, The Pentland Hills, Fife, and The Firth of Forth. On your way back down the hill, it’s worth venturing into the surrounding woodlands where you will see an abundance of local wildlife.

For more amazing walks in Scotland, please click here.

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