Bridge of Allan

We stopped for lunch in a cute little town called Bridge of Allan. This is a charming little village situated less than three miles from the centre of Stirling. The start of the village is a humped bridge which runs over the River Allen, this is how the village gets its name.

Early in its history copper was said to be mined here as early as the 16th century and at intervals thereafter right up to 1807. The main audit (entrance shaft) of the mine can still be seen today in the woodlands – the backdrop of the village. When the copper industry declined in the 1800s the town became a popular holiday destination for the rich and famous. The Allan waters developed the reputation of having healing powers and the affluent travelled here with their sickly children looking for alternatives to rounds of doctors and medical treatments. Along the river’s edge, you can see many grand houses that were built during this period in the town’s history.

One famous yearly visitor was Robert Louis Stevenson who suffered from many ailments as a child. It is rumoured that most of his books are based on Allan and not tropical destinations. One area in town, a riverside pathway called the Darn Walk, is thought to have been included as part of his adventure novel Kidnapped. A small cave on a route by the river bank is also linked with him and, some say, was the origin of Ben Gunn’s cave in Treasure Island.

We had lunch in a little cafe on the main strip then spent some time wandering around. There are lots of quaint little houses and churches and you could easily get lost just wandering. I also spent some time in the post office looking for uniquely Scottish stamps for my dad.

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