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The Castles and Cows of Stirling

Stirling is a super easy day trip from Edinburgh, and we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tour Stirling Castle on a gorgeous September day. Chris and I hopped on the train Thursday morning and found ourselves in Stirling in under an hour. With colorful storefronts along curvy streets and homes that look like gingerbread houses, I found the town to be completely charming.
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I came across plenty of colorful doors for my photo collection.

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After walking around the town a bit and having a fantastic lunch at the No. 2 Baker St. pub (I had the Belhaven Steak & Ale pie – so good!), we headed up the hill to the castle. It’s a bit of a walk, so we easily burned off those lunchtime calories.

Guided tours and audio tours were available of the 12th century castle, but we chose to wander the grounds at our own pace armed with a map. We loved lingering over the spectacular views.

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We didn’t feel like we had enough time to get over to the Wallace Monument. It’s a couple of miles from Stirling Castle, so if you want to see both you need to plan for it time-wise. There’s a great view of it from the castle though, so Chris took this beautiful photo (on the right) with a telephoto lens. We’ll have to visit it another time since I had an additional mission planned for our time in Stirling (see below).

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I want to be the person who went to Stirling strictly for the rich history, magnificent castle, and culturally important monument. However, I’m the person who went to Stirling in one last-ditch attempt to find a red Highland cow on this trip to Scotland! Okay, so we did have Stirling and the castle tour on our must-see list before I realized it was my final opportunity to see the hairy coos. I’m pretty sure I drove Chris nuts during our Islay weekend, craning my neck in the car to look for them. A photographer friend of mine who had recently been to Edinburgh also took a day trip to Stirling and said she saw cows there. I didn’t want to get my hopes up because I couldn’t imagine that we’d actually find them, but we did!

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Two sweet babies trotted right over to us alongside a fence, and were just so curious about us with our cameras.

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We even saw a blonde one! So with the black one that we found on Islay, plus these guys, my Highland cow obsession was quite satisfied. If only I was allowed to bring one home! (Don’t worry, I didn’t try. We really don’t have the space.)

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