Scotland (July 2006)

Sunrise over the eastern coast of Greenland
Oban is one of Scotland's leading coastal resorts. Oban's harbor area with McCaig's Tower (also called McCaig's Folly) in the distance
North Pier and the Hotel Columba in Oban Harbour
Inside Aulay's Bar, one of Oban's local pubs
Outside Stirling Castle, Audunn stands at the statue of Robert the Bruce with the Wallace Monument in the distance. Robert the Bruce (from the French Robert Brus or Robert I of Scotland) was the King of Scotland from March 25, 1306 to June 7, 1329.

Stirling Castle's Forework Gatehouse

For centuries, the catch cry was, "He who holds Stirling castle, holds all of Scotland."

Stirling Castle was built upon a crag of volcanic rock, surrounded almost entirely by fog-shrouded marsh-lands. The Scottish soldiers generally wore light armor allowing them to move quickly and deftly through the heath and marsh while the English soldiors typically wore very heavy plate armor and had fully armored war horses. Weighed down by their heavy armor, the English soldiers could only cross the marshlands down a road and across a single bridge overlooked by Stirling Castle and within firing range of its canons.

The castle became an important seat for two kings, James IV and James V. Mary Queen of Scots lived here as an infant monarch for the first four years of her life, and her coronation was held at Stirling Castle's Royal Chapel in 1543.

The fireplace and tapestries in the Queen's Presence Chamber where James V's wife, Mary of Guise, and James VI's wife, Anna of Denmark, received honored guests during the 16th century
Now that's a fireplace!

Stirling Castle's Great Hall was built by James IV in 1503 and converted to a four-story military barracks in the 19th Century. The Hall has been restored to its former medieval glory with a new oak hammerbeam roof, wall walks, leadlight windows and interior galleries.

Stirling Castle's medieval Great Kitchens are staged to show how food was prepared in medieval times and the staff required to prepare the royal meals.
The North Gate, perhaps the oldest part of Stirling Castle, from the Nether Bailey
Is that a gun from the Grand Battery, or are you happy to see me?
The city of Stirling and the Wallace Monument from Stirling Castle

The National Wallace Monument was opened in 1869 to celebrate Scotland's national hero, William Wallace (1274-1329). The monument stands on the Abbey Craig, where Wallace, with Sir Andrew Moray, rallied his band of fighters on September 11, 1297, fought and defeated the army of King Edward I of England in the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

One corner of the National Wallace Monument includes a statue of William Wallace.
After his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, William Wallace was made Scotland's "Guardian of the Realm". Since Wallace's broadsword measures 66" long, he had to have been over 6 feet 6 inches tall to carry and wield the weapon.
The Wallace Monument has a stained glass of Robert the Bruce, who defeated the army of Edward II of England at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn in Stirling, gaining Scotland its independence.
The bronze at the top of the Wallace Monument shows the sites of the Stirling Old Bridge and the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
The same site today from atop the Wallace Monument

A view of Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket, the site of a public market where merchants originally sold wood and timber, then horses, cattle and grain from the 1500's until 1911

Grassmarket now has some of Edinburgh's most fashionable coffee shops, restaurants and shops.

On the bridge to the Edinburgh Castle gatehouse with statues of King Robert I (left) and William Wallace (right)

The Scottish National War Memorial commemorates nearly 150,000 Scottish casualties in the First World War, 1914 - 1918, over 50,000 in the Second World War, 1939 - 1945 and the campaigns since 1945, including the Malayan Emergency, the Korean War, Northern Ireland, the Falklands War and the Gulf War.

Check out the Scottish National War Memorial Website.

Edinburgh Castle's Great Hall, built on the orders of King James IV and completed in 1511, also has a hammerbeam roof.
The Great Hall's fireplace
The Great Hall's entrance
Audunn just outside Edinburgh Castle at the start of Edinburgh's Royal Mile
Shopping along Edinburgh's Princes Street
The pinnacle of the Gothic 200-foot tall Sir Walter Scott Monument

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