Travel to Scotland
Day 1 Prestwick - Falkirk - Kelpies - Stirling - Callander - Oban (261 Km.)
(in 91 km.) Falkirk Wheel: After breakfast and pick up the rental car at the Prestwick airport, we head to Falkirk to visit this curious engineering work, while we get used to driving on the left side of the road. The Falkirk wheel is a rotating boat lift that connects the Forth and Clyde canals with the Union channel. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world , and is considered to be Scotland's highest engineering achievement. Before the construction of this engineering work were required 11 locks to save the 24 meters of unevenness of the channel. The wheel, 35 meters in diameter, consists of two opposite arms that extend 15 meters from the axis. Two diametrically opposed caissons act as locks to confine the boats.
Falkirk - Falkirk Wheel
The caissons should rotate at the same speed as the wheel, but in the opposite direction and ensure that the water or the contents of the boats do not move when the wheel rotates. Next to the wheel there is a restaurant and a pond with various recreational activities.
(in 8 km.) The Kelpies: Our next stop is a short visit to The Helix Park to take pictures of The Kelpies, a monument to Scottish horses made by the Scottish sculptor Andy Scott in laminated steel and a stainless steel cover that reflects the light. They are two huge horse heads about 30 meters high and 300 tons of weight located next to the Forth and Clyde channel that crosses the central part of Scotland as it passes through the town of Falkirk. The Kelpies were completed in October 2013 after seven years of work and opened to the public in April 2014.
Helix Park - The Kelppies
(in 27 km.) Stirling: Once we are approaching Stirling, we see his castle, located on top of a hill. We parked in the esplanade that is in front of the castle and we entered using the Explorer Pass for the first time, avoiding the queue at the entrance. Most of the main buildings of the castle date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, although some buildings are even earlier, specifically from the 14th century. The outer defenses of the castle that face the city, meanwhile, date from the early eighteenth century. The castle has a historical importance due to its strategic location, because it was on the way to the Highlands. The castle houses the headquarters and the Regimental Museum of the Highlanders Regiment, although the regiment no longer has its base here.
Stirling castle - Queen Anne Gardens
After overcoming the outer defenses, we find on the left the Queen Anne Gardens, a beautiful corner that also offers beautiful views over the Stirling plain. We continue crossing the inner walls and the imposing Forework Gate. To the right we find a path that takes us to the Great kitchen and to the east part of the wall from which we can see in the distance the Wallace monument. We continue ascending the castle and we arrive at an inner square, which is surrounded by four main buildings: the Great Hall, in which it emphasizes the wooden roof and the armchairs of the kings, the real chapel, the museum of the Highlanders and the Renaissance real palace builded by James V. With its combination of Renaissance architecture, and exuberant late-gothic detail, it is one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in Scotland, covered with unique carved stonework. It was begun in the 1530s, and was largely complete by the time of James' death in December 1542. Internally, the Palace comprises two apartments, one each for the king and queen. Each has a hall, presence chamber, and bedchamber. The Renaissance decoration continued inside, although little has survived the building's military use, excepting the carved stone fireplaces. The ceiling of the King's Presence Chamber was originally decorated with a series of carved oak portrait roundels known as the Stirling Heads.
Stirling castle - Royal palace
(in 4 km.) National Wallace monument: We hardly have time to visit Stirling and we go directly to the Wallace monument, a sandstone tower about 70 meters high, in Victorian Gothic style, built in 1869 to commemorate the figure of William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish soldier who fought against King Edward I of England in the War of Scottish Independence. To access the monument it is necessary to ascend to the hill, and in turn climb the top of the monument through the 246 steps of its spiral staircase. It is said that from this place William Wallace observed the English army, before the Battle of the Bridge of Stirling, scene depicted in the film Braveheart.
Stirling - National Wallace monument
(in 26 km.) Callander: We continue towards Oban, passing through Dublane, where highlights its cathedral, and Doune, famous for its castle, which appears in films and series such as "The Knights of the Square Table", "Outlander", "Game of Thrones" or "Ivanhoe." If we had more days we would certainly use Callander as a base for excursions in the surroundings, especially to visit the National Park of the Trossachs.After leaving Callander we made a short excursion to see the Leny Falls, at the confluence of the Leny and Teith rivers. It was difficult to find them, because it was not indicated and the path was narrow and full of mud.
Callander - Falls of Leny
(in 105 km.) Falls of Lora: For about an hour and a half we drive through beautiful landscapes, such as the Loch Lubnaig. A little further on, in Balquhidder, is where the Scottish hero Rob Roy was buried. We move along the A85 road, along which we see lots of waterfalls falling, which come down from mountains like the Ben Lui. We finally arrived at the Falls of Lora hotel where we will spend the next two nights. As it's late, we can not have dinner at the hotel and we must go to the port of Oban to find an opened restaurant.