Featured

Secret Stirling: Sheriffmuir – discover Jacobite gathering stones, hidden in a forest

One of the most significant battle sites in Scotland is off-the-beaten path, out of the view of the many tourists who explore the countryside: at Sheriffmuir.

This is where a bloody battle raged between the Jacobites who wanted to restore full control of Stirling Castle back from supporters of Hanoverian King George II in 1715. The Battle was the subject of “The Battle of Sherramuir“, one of the most famous songs written by Robert Burns in the late 1700s. 

Steeped in history, hidden in the hills

Sheriffmuir is also a place hidden in the hills with several interesting, varied walking routes – including a path that takes you to the gathering stones, which served as a marker for the clansmen. You’ll see cattle, and forests, and you can also expect to encounter many different types of birds – from multi-coloured grouse to eagles – when you walk in the Sheriffmuir area.

Sheriffmuir, Stirling: A great walk out – with your friends or four-legged companion

Listen! Dog walker Kerry shares a secret walking spot, at Sheriffmuir, near Stirling

In this podcast, professional dog walker Kerry Warren shares the details of one of her favourite walks near Stirling – a place the locals call Sheriffmuir. The Mucky Muzzles proprietor chats to Jackie Cameron of Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, Stirling about how to get to Sheriffmuir and what you can expect on a walk in the area. Listen!

The Jacobites 

The Jacobites (Latin for James) were a group of mostly Highland Clans in the 17th and 18th centuries who fought to restore King James VII – known as King James II in England – to the British throne as well as his descendants. 

This is an easy walk across gentle terrain. There are several walking trails in the area, of varying degrees of difficulty and duration.

The battle

A Hanoverian garrison was positioned on the banks of the Forth River, close to Stirling Castle. The Jacobites wanted to dislodge them. After a battle at Kinbuck Muir, the warring sides moved about 2 miles away to Sheriffmuir. Historians tell us there were about 7,000 Jacobites and, although they outnumbered the 3,000 in the government forces, the latter were better trained. Abut 1,600 died in the failed Jacobite uprising.

After the battle at Sheriffmuir, the British Government passed Disarming Act (1716) – which banned broadswords, muskets and other weapons for war being held by the Highland clans, says Battlefields of Britain.

Adrian, one of your hosts at Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, Stirling, takes Roxie for a walk to find the Jacobite Gathering Stones.

Curling in Stirling – fabulous fun, like bowls on ice

Stirling is the home of curling, with dedicated ice sheets at the special Olympic facility at The Peak, Stirling Sports Village, in the town centre.

Curling is a sport that caters for players at all levels and physical abilities. If you’re not flexible or fit enough to lunge on the ice to deliver your stone towards a target, you can use a delivery stick. This makes it possible to participate even if you’ve got arthritic knees or can’t get out of a wheelchair, though the athletes among us can be competitive too.

Curling is a sport I’d never tried before the weekend. But, after two hours, I’m hooked and keen to sign up for regular sessions.

Curling is a lot like bowling on ice, only the ball is a stone that needs to glide across the ice to a target after it is set off on its path by one team member – and the others get to work sweeping brooms in front to keep the stone on track.

The team that gets a stone closest to the bulls-eye or has more stones in the zone – called the “house” – wins.

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I’m a big sissy on ice, so it was with much trepidation that I stepped onto the curling sheet. To my relief, the ice isn’t particularly slippery. Its texture makes it possible to walk – and run! – on it in trainers. Special grips are available as are footpads to help you push off faster if you so desire.

We had a wonderful group lesson, with the patient and kind Elspeth, who shared her love of the game by making sure everyone in the two teams of three could play to their level.

Curling is Scottish speciality, though it’s also played elsewhere. It’s a great night out for a family or group of friends, though book in advance to secure a sheet for a game or a lesson.

  • This blog post is sponsored by Stirling’s Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, an historic 8-room guest house. Book directly to claim a discount – and ask Jackie to help you book a lesson or session in curling while you are visiting Stirling. Cite Stirling Life as the promo code.

Secret Stirling: A magical walk in the Scottish glens – Castle Campbell

Imagine a place so silent that all you can hear are bubbling brooks – or burns, as we call them here – making their way through purple heather, green ferns and the same moss-covered trees that once sheltered warring clansmen. A place above the Scottish lowlands, from where you can see the silver Forth River slowly snaking its way across the centre of Scotland through riverside villages in the direction of Edinburgh.

And a place where you can have a wander, around a 15th century castle hidden in a forest and protected by steep gorges, with your dog and your human companion to refresh your soul. Welcome to the lowland fortress of the Campbell clan, which is tucked behind the hills of Dollar village in Stirling’s nearby Hillfoots.

You can pay the entry fee to get beyond the castle gate to explore what life might have been like for the wealthy Campbells. Or, you can enjoy its surrounds for free – as the locals do, with many a happy mutt bounding around in the lush grass. There are footpaths around the castle that take you to the top of the hills and beyond, including through farmland.

If you’re fit enough, consider walking from Castle Campbell to Glendevon and even Auchterarder. But, if you’re still walking off your festive feast, as I am, this is a perfect stroll. It’s also a great spot for anyone looking to experience a side of Scotland that most tourists don’t know about or have the time to see.

Tip: 20-minute drive from Stirling, with a regular bus service from Stirling through the Hillfoots villages, which include Dollar. Follow the signs to Castle Campbell.

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Pictures by: Adrian Hadland, of Stirling

This blog post is sponsored by Stirling’s Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, an historic 8-room guest house conveniently located in the Stirling Old Town and embedded in the medieval walls designed to protect Mary Queen of Scots. Book directly to claim a discount. Cite Stirling Life as the promo code.

Hush my darling, the lions sleep tonight – in Stirling!

One of Stirling’s great attractions has got to be the Blair Drummond Safari park. It’s an immense estate that’s home to some of the world’s most rare, endangered and dangerous animals. It even has lions prowling in its long grass.

It’s those lions I have to thank for giving my young sons a quick introduction to reproduction. Our timing was perfect: We were lucky to see two lions as soon as we drove into their large enclosure. Barely seconds after we had stopped to take a close look from the comfort of our car, the lions started mating enthusiastically – which was puzzling to my wee sons, and an unforgettable family moment.

The park only opens from March, but if you want to book for some of the exciting educational programmes on offer for children (no, mating school isn’t on the list), we suggest you book soon because Blair Drummond offerings are hugely popular.

I’m seriously considering Safari School, a week-long course for young people aged 13-17 years, for my youngest. It looks like a fun way to spend five days in the summer.

You may be relieved to know that Safari School does not involve direct contact with the animals – because these certainly aren’t pets! – but does give a broad overview of zoo-related work including animal husbandry, enclosure design, enrichment, behavioural studies, training and nutrition.

Caveat: The course is not free, but it should be money well spent. For more information, see the list of children’s programmes on the Blair Drummond website.

Free fun for kids! Build your OWN city for children

The City of Play’s hugely successful #Tinkertown is coming to the Engine Shed in Stirling, it says on its Facebook page.

This is a free event for children and families to design, build and play as they like with hammers, saws and pallets!

At The Engine Shed, StirlingApr 13 at 11 AM – Apr 17 at 3 PM
Wonderful opportunity for your children to have fun engineering!

Free ride on Stirling land train – in one easy step

Can you help Go Forth Stirling name the Stirling Land Train? If you are age 12 or under, your name could get you and your family a free trip and a fun day out!

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The child who nominates the winning name gets a family fun day out in Stirling and those who make the shortlist receive free trips on the land train, says Go Forth Stirling on its Facebook page.

Every child can nominate only one name. The name nominations can be entered via this link ⏩https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CWSQCTL or nomination forms can be collected on board of the Land Train or in the Stirling Arcade.

Read more about the competition here ⏩
http://www.goforthstirling.co.uk/n…/namethestirlinglandtrain

  • Special offers to promote Stirling. Got a special offer for Stirling peeps? Want to give a discount or a freebie to a Stirling visitor. Let us help you spread the word. Send us your offer – for anything from accommodation and food to useful and fun things to do – so we can publish it on our site: editor@stirling.life

Is your ancestor Robert the Bruce? Meet your long-lost cousin!

Scotland is a popular destination for ancestral tourists – people looking to reconnect with their ethnic roots. Stirling is at the centre of this tourism, with many individuals exploring their links to clans who originated in the nearby Highlands.

Some are fortunate enough to trace their families back to Scottish heroes, like Robert the Bruce. This was the case for Gale Brown, aged 94, who is arguably the closest you can get to Scottish royalty in the 21st century. Brown, from the USA, visited the Battle of Bannockburn site, Stirling, and partial burial ground of Robert the Bruce, at nearby Dunfermline Abbey, while he was staying in Scotland.

Robert the Bruce’s grandson, 19 generations down, stayed at Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, a guest house built into Stirling’s medieval city walls during Mary Queen of Scots’ rein, on his heritage tour of Scotland where he shared his family history with delighted locals.

See the picture of him taking a rest at the B&B, which kindly shared the picture with us, and a recreation of Robert the Bruce. We can see the likeness! Can you?

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Gale Brown, a US World War veteran who survived a nuclear explosion in Japan, came to connect with his Scottish roots in his mid-90s. He is believed to be a descendant of Robert the Bruce.

  • This blog post is sponsored by Stirling’s Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, an historic 8-room guest house conveniently located in the Stirling Old Town. Book directly to claim a discount. Cite Stirling Life as the promo code.

Jolene, Jolene…Dolly Parton’s coming to town, and some

The Albert Halls, Stirling – not to be confused with The Albert Hall, London – has some great shows lined up for the first half of 2020. If you are a country and western fan, you’ll be able to kick up your heels to Dolly Parton at The Legends of American Country Show in January.

Make up your mind quickly if you want to get tickets for any of these events. Peat & Diesel had sold out by early January and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun look set to go that way, too.

There are also some fascinating talks in the line up, not least of all Sasha DiGiulian, an amazing young lady who has nerves of steel and can climb up any rock face. Or so it seems, when you look at the pictures on the Sasha DiGiulian Facebook page.

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JAN31The Legends of American Country Show
Fri 19:30 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
FEB12Sasha DiGiulian – Beyond the Comfort Zone
Wed 19:30 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
FEB12Sasha DiGiulian – Beyond the Comfort Zone
Wed 20:00 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
FEB14The Sound of Springsteen
Fri 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
FEB21Peat & Diesel | Stirling – SOLD OUT
Fri 19:30 ·
The Albert Halls, Stirling
FEB22Wired For Sound
Sat 19:00 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
MAR8Stirling Orchestra
Sun 19:30 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
APR15Nathan Carter & his band plus support
Wed 19:30 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
MAY8The Unthanks
Fri 19:30 ·
The Albert Halls, Stirling
MAY13Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Albert Halls, Stirling
Wed 19:30 
The Albert Halls, Stirling
JUN18Giovanni Pernice – This Is Me
Thu 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
JUN18Giovanni Pernice – This is Me
Thu 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
JUN27The Magic of Motown
Sat 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
JUL18BGCP Comic Con: Stirling 2020
Sat 10:00 · by BGCP Comic Con
The Albert Halls, Stirling
SEP5G4 LIVE 2020 – Stirling
Sat 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
NOV6The Levellers
Fri 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
NOV6Levellers | Stirling
Fri 19:30
The Albert Halls, Stirling
  • This blog post is sponsored by Stirling’s Castle Walk Bed & Breakfast, an historic 8-room guest house conveniently located in the Stirling Old Town. Book directly to claim a discount. Cite Stirling Life as the promo code.

Free fun for kids: Traditional sign-writing, boat-building

Not a lot in life is free, but here in Stirling there’s lots to keep your children engaged and excited. For starters this year, there’s a wonderful monthly session at the Engine Shed – you know, the fancy shed near our favourite cinema and peri-peri chicken restaurant.


The heritage experts are on the look-out for apprentices to join them in a great programme aimed to tapping into the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. It’s every fourth Saturday, from 1pm to 3.30, in school term time.

The January session focuses on traditional signwriting techniques with professional signwriter Ross Hastie

Free fun for kids and children at heart at the Engine Shed, Stirling.

Signwriting has been giving character and flourish to Scotland’s shops and buildings for centuries. At this session, take inspiration from ships with their names beautifully hand-painted on their outsides,” say the organisers.

Children can pick up a Master Builder Log Book and collect a stamp each time you visit to become an Engine Shed Master Builder!

Master Builders take place on the fourth Saturday of the month (Stirling term time only).

Additional information

“This activity may get messy. Please wear appropriate clothing. We provide the appropriate personal protective equipment for all of our activities (for example masks, safety glasses and gloves),” advise the Master Builders.

Activities suitable for ages 7+. Parental/guardian supervision is required for the duration of the activity.

Free Sat 25 Jan 2020

  • 1pm – 3.30pm

Prices


  • Free – drop in

Shows @tolbooth: From Rabbie Burns to Led Zeppelin

Dinner and a show, anyone? Here’s a selection of shows coming up soon @tolbooth, which is smack-bang in the centre of Stirling, has a nice wee bar and is a cosy venue for a great night out.  We’d love to get your feedback on shows worth seeing. Please comment below.

FEB

1

CML Jan: Joseph Hewer (album launch),Almost Autumn, The Stickmen

Sat 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

12

Genesis Visible Touch – ‘Duke Tour’ 40th Anniversary 2020

Wed 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

12

The Duke Tour

Wed 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

14

Gregory’s Girl – Film Screening

Fri 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

15

The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

19

The Tannahill Weavers

Wed 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

20

Stirling Tolbooth – Breabach

Thu 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

FEB

22

Mark Thomson’s Spectacular Science Show

Sat 14:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

9

McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle

Mon 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

14

Siobhan Miller

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

19

Pete Whittaker – Solo and Free

Thu 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

20

Strivelyn Ensemble

Fri 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

21

Rab Noakes & Jill Jackson

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

27

Yorkston, Thorne & Khan

Fri 20:00 

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAR

28

Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

APR

4

RANT

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

APR

9

Pictish Trail Plus Special Guests

Thu 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

APR

18

Brìghde Chaimbeul & Aidan O’Rourke

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

1

Talisk // Stirling // UK

Fri 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

8

Elephant Sessions at Tolbooth 8th May 2020

8 May–9 May

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

15

Green Ribbons, Tolbooth Stirling

Fri 19:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

15

Green Ribbons & Burd Ellen

Fri 20:00 · Hosted by Burd Ellen

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

21

Lau

Thu 20:00 

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

21

Lau Unplugged

Thu 20:00 

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

MAY

23

9Bach At Tolbooth

Sat 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

JUN

3

Peggy Seeger & Calum MacColl / Tolbooth, Stirling / 03.06.20

Wed 19:00 

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

JUN

3

Peggy Seeger & Calum MacColl at Tolbooth Stirling

Wed 19:00

Tolbooth Stirling

JUN

26

Torridon – Break The Chains Tour

26 Jun–29 Jun

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

JUL

5

Còig

Sun 20:00

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

NOV

14

Coda – A Tribute To Led Zeppelin

Sat 19:30

Tolbooth Stirling

Stirling

@tolbooth is a great venue in the centre of Stirling. Also close to Stirling bed and breakfasts.