Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Battleground Stirling.

This evening, I am focusing on the Battle of Bannockburn which took place near Stirling in central Scotland in 1314. This event was a key watershed in preserving Scotland’s independence from England which lasted until the birth of the United Kingdom in 1707.

Since the Norman conquest of England in 1066 the Kings of England ran various campaigns and initiatives to make Scotland subservient to English over-lordship with mixed success. It is noteworthy that the two key battles occurred within a few miles of Stirling Castle because this was the ‘buckle in the belt’ of Scotland. To secure Scotland an invading army from England had to cross the plain in central Scotland which Stirling Castle dominates. In 1297 William Wallace (aka ‘Braveheart’ ) had a success against the English at nearby Stirling Bridge but this proved something of a Pyrrhic victory because Wallace was subsequently betrayed and executed in London.

Central Plain of Scotland from Stirling Castle

In June 1314 Edward II of England amassed a huge army of some 40,000 to crush the still rebellious Scots. The two armies met over two days, June 23rd and June 24th, with the latter being the main battle. The battle site was Bannock Burn. ‘Burn’ is a Scots word meaning stream. The English were poorly organised and led and with the smaller Scots force taking advantage of their superior knowledge of the local terrain. The result was a resounding victory for the Scots. Paradoxically, the current British Royal Family are descended from the Scots victor, Robert I through his daughter and the House of Stewart.

The site of the battle has been lost in the mists of time but there is a Heritage Centre and Memorial, not far from Stirling Castle, which acts a proxy for the actual battle site.

The view below is taken from the Ladies’ Lookout close to the Royal Palace at Stirling Castle.

View of Bannockburn from Stirling Castle.

Video clip of Bannockburn taken from Ladies’ Lookout at Stirling Castle.

Thatched House at Chipping Campden.

This evening, I am posting information on the quintessentially English Cotswolds village of Chipping Campden which is situated about 100 miles N.W of London. Population is about 2200.

Market Hall, Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden is well endowed with antique and other specialist shops, hotels, and restaurants.

Early wealth was derived from wool trading in the medieval period. The name is derived from a combination of ceping ( Old English for ‘market’) and camp and denu ( Old English for ‘valley with enclosures’.)

Colourful Cottage at Chipping Campden

A symbol of the village is the famous Market Hall (above) which dates from 1627. There is also the impressive, perpendicular wool church of  St James. Visitors are attracted by the traditional thatched houses as illustrated in images below.

St James Church, Chipping Campden

Thatched House at Chipping Campden

In the early 20th century a community of Arts and Crafts specialists (metalworking, jewellery, furniture making, etc.) moved from London and established workshops in Chipping Campden.

High Street, Chipping Campden

A fascinating village which features in many tours of the Cotswolds region. Other visitor sites nearby include Stratford-upon-Avon and Broadway Tower.

Broadway Tower, English Cotswolds.

This evening, I am posting information on Broadway Tower, a folly (no functional use) which dates from 1789 and reaches a height of 1024 feet (312 metres), the second highest vantage point in the Cotswolds.

Location is near Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Campden and hence suitable for inclusion in tours of the Cotswolds region.

The tower was designed by architect, James Wyatt for the 6th Earl of Coventry who in turn followed a vision of leading landscape designer ‘Capability’ Brown.

Landscape view of Broadway from Broadway Tower, Cotswolds.

The building’s eccentric design has, over the years, inspired eccentric occupants including a book and manuscript collector and Arts & Craft Movement members. During military conflicts in the 20th century, the Tower was used as a lookout (for military aircraft).

The local parkland is conducive to hiking and cycling and a small herd of Red Deer can be seen. Restaurant facilities are available on site.

Red Deer at Broadway Tower