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Check Out The Battle Site Of Stirling Bridge

Many visitors to Scotland will not be able to avoid the fact that another independence campaign has been launched by first minister Nicola Sturgeon; it is, after all, there to see on every news stand.

Needless to say, most visitors are not coming to Scotland for the politics. Rows about referendums can keep for another day. But it is a reminder that the Stirling area has seen a lot of major events in the history of Scotland and its changing relations with England.

Those with an interest in when these matters were settled with swords and shields, bows and arrows and blue face paint might want to check out one of the most significant sites in the area, where the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place in 1297 - after eating out in one of the best restaurants in Stirling first, of course.

Immortalised in the film Braveheart, this was where the forces of English king Edward Longshanks took on the Scots, led by William Wallace, in a battle for control of the one bridge over the Forth by which the Highlands could be accessed.

After the English forces advanced over the bridge the Scots, led by Wallace and Andrew Moray, charged the English forces and trapped them on the narrow area of land on the Scottish side of the river.

The English eventually cut their losses by severing the bridge, preventing the Scots from crossing, but also trapping many English troops on the other side. Many drowned trying to swim to safety, weighed down by their armour.

The success of the Scots in defeating the English that day has entered the annals of history, with the National Wallace monument now located at the site.

Nowadays the bridge is a very different one, an elegant stone multi-arched structure and the site is a peaceful place now.

Indeed, English visitors, like any others, can safely walk around Stirling and enjoy great food here as well as exploring this historic site. Whatever Scotland’s future, it won’t be written in blood quite like this.

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