Stirling Old Bridge
,A quick nip across to Stirling at the weekend was enhanced by some sunshine and clear spells of blue sky. Only thirty five minutes from Appletree Cottage, Stirling has a great selection of shops and restaurants, Famous for its massive medieval Castle this small city also boasts Argyll's lodging, the Church of the Holy Rood, a magnificently preserved old town, close by National Wallace Monument and in the summer months Blair Drummond Safari Park. Today we stopped by the Old Stirling Bridge to explore and take a few photos.
The Old Bridge was built around 14-1500, replacing the earlier wooden structures, one of which had been the focus of The Battle of Stirling Bridge (11/Sept/1297), when the army under William Wallace defeated the English forces by allowing so many to cross the bridge and then blocking that route for the remainder of the troops.
The original wooden bridge lay a little upstream of the current Old Stirling Bridge, the stone foundations of the former being visible at low water.
The Old bridge was the lowest crossing point of the River Forth for several centuries until bridges were built at Kincardine and South Queensferry.
Perched on top of Abbey Craig, where legend has it that William Wallace's troops camped to the hill's commanding position over looking the town of Stirling and the Forth Valley, sits the National Wallace Monument commemorating the thirteenth century leader. The monument is well worth a visit, particularly on a clear day as the views from the top are fantastic, looking towards Edinburgh in the east and Ben Lomond in the west.
During the 1945 Jacobite uprising the southern most arch was blown up and thereby removed by General Blackney to prevent highlanders and supporters of the Jacobite movement crossing the river. The arch was rebuilt and the bridge repaired in later years.
In early days duties were charged on goods entering the borough. Customs men were installed in a covered recess in the centre of the bridge to tax such goods.
Stirling New Bridge
Just down stream is the New Stirling Bridge - opened in 1833 and designed by the famous Scottish Engineer Robert Stevenson, father of the author Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island). The new bridge is open to this day and carries the A9 trunk road north to Perth and beyond.
This is a continuation of a blog of our cycle ride along part of Sustrans Cycle Route 7 in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
Starting at Lochearnhead we joined the former Callander and Oban Railway trackbed and continued up the spectacular Glen Ogle. Although steep sided the route of the railway line contours the hillside to maintain gentle gradients throughout.
As detailed before the line to Glen Ogle opened in 1870 but following Dr. Beeching's infamous report on the railway network produced in the early 1960's the section of the Callander and Oban line between Crianlarich and Callander was scheduled for closure on 1st November 1965. However, before that date, in the early hours of Monday 27th September 1965, a rockfall occurred in Glen Ogle. This area had been a constant headache to the operators of the line since construction as landslips and rockfalls were not infrequent. Following the an engineering assessment of the damage it was decided by the powers that be that there was no economic benefit of clearing the line and shoring up the bank as the line was due to close in just over a month's time.
The rockfall not only closed the Callander and Crianlarich section of the line it also meant the closure of the five mile Killin Junction to Killin section.
A photograph of the rockfall taken in the 1960s soon after the track had been lifted can be seen here: www.railscot.co.uk/img/28/647/
Towards the top of Glen Ogle is a very impressive 12 arch viaduct at the foot of Meall Sgliata which can be seen clearly from the main road which runs along the opposite side of the glen.
Glenoglehead station is the summit of the line at this point with the route descending gently thereafter towards what was Killin Junction.
We pass the occasional surviving wayside shed, the severed bases of signal posts and other indications of earlier activity until we come to Killin Junction station.
As we arrive at the former Killin Junction station site we see the station has almost been entirely cleared away - only a small portion of the central platform remains. The route of the line to Killin can be seen in the picture, dropping off to the right.
Killin junction was distinctive as there was no road access. The station was entirely a junction for the line to Killin. Older people have recorded memories of long waits at this station for their connecting trains.
After a good look round its time to return to Lochearnhead. After a short clime up to Glenoglehead station we have a fantastic long gentle freewheel back to Lochearnhead.
A great day out in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park