The last stop of the day was the Wallace Monument. The monument was built in Victorian times (1869) after a tide of Scottish nationalism hit the nation. It is (obviously) a monument for the freedom fighter William Wallace, made famous by Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
This is the tower that became known (be only me of course) as the giant penis on the hill. What greater tribute can there be for a man?! Having a giant phallic symbol in your name that can be seen from everywhere in and around an important strategic position in Scotland.
You need to be fit to visit the monument… really fit. From the base of the hill you have a 20 minute hike up to the monument and this was just the beginning. Normally, there is a bus that takes you to the top but today the bus was not running for some reason and we found ourselves trudging through the countryside, through a forest, and up numerous steps to get to the monument.
Once at the monument there is a little rest stop and a nice view of Stirling. After a bit of a breather you then have another 246 steps to climb to get to the top of the 220 foot high monument, steep and roughly hewn stone steps nonetheless. If you want a workout, this is it. Luckily there are three rest stops along the way; each filled with wheezing people asking how much further and by the time we reached the top there were few people.
Along the way you get to see Wallace’s double handed broadsword, a talking head recalling Wallace’s struggle for Scottish freedom, and also how he was betrayed and killed in the end. There is a Scottish Hall of Heroes full of busts and information about innovative Scots who did amazing things.
At the top of the monument and end of the breath stealing climb, there is an amazing view of the countryside. It’s worth every step to the top and if the stairs don’t take all you wind, the view will snatch whatever is left.