Exploring Mugdock Park from nearby Appletree luxury self-catering Cottage
Mugdock Country Park is about 15 minutes from Appletree Cottage - down the A809 towards Glasgow.
With 270hectares (over 600 acres of woodland, moorland and heathland with two castles - one dating from the 1300s, a loch, a stable block with eateries, the remains of an extensive WW2 gun emplacement and fantastic views over the city of Glasgow.
Stirling Castle - the Royal Apartments
Having now explored most of the castle it was time to visit the Royal Palace. We entered via the doorway in the upper close and ascended the stairs.
We took a day out to visit Stirling Castle - about half an hour's drive from Appletree Cottage. In the first part we explored the entrance, the Queen Ann Garden and the exhibition. Going through the main gate we entered the lower square with the medieval Great Hall on the left.
The Great Hall was the largest of its kind ever built in Scotland - used for feasting, dancing and ceremonial pageants.
Heated by five huge fireplaces it was completed in 1503 for James IV of Scotland
During refurbishment the Great Hall was hailed in a striking yellow / ochre lime wash. This is intended to replicate the original covering - the lime to protect the stonework and protect against the elements. The Great Hall with its bright distinctive colour is clearly visible from several miles away.
Stirling Castle Lower Square or Outer Close
North Gate and Nether Bailey Stirling Castle
The North gate is one of the oldest parts of the castle, built in the thirteen hundreds it leads out to the Nether Bailey.
Stirling Castle - Queen Anne Garden, Ramparts and Museum
Stirling Castle - 30 minutes from Appletree Cottage
On a glorious sunny day earlier this month we drove 30 minutes to Stirling to visit Stirling Castle. Tickets were slightly cheaper to book online. There is a small charge for the carpark when you arrive.
Entrance gate to Stirling Castle
Crossing the bridge over the former moat we entered this medieval castle which was formerly the capital of Scotland. This was the birth place and residence of many Scottish kings before the Union of the Crowns in 1707 when Scottish King James VI went down to become James I of England. The two countries from then on shared the monarchy.
Inside the exhibition centre the walls are lined with the history of many people who have been associated with the castle and others who have lived in it. From its early beginnings Stirling Castle has been a classic fortification.
Like Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle sits majestically on top of an ancient volcano plug with the old town sloping off down to the east.
The castle has been the sight of many battles and changed hands several times before settling down into the home of the Scottish monarchy.
With great vantage points all round it was one of the most defensible locations in the Kingdom of Scotland.
There is a very good model of the castle in the exhibition centre giving a clear idea of the layout and of the various sections which have been added over the years.
The views to the east and to the south were fantastic. Even though it was not the clearest of days we could make out the towers of the new Forth Bridge near Edinburgh.