Day 3 in Stirling, Loch Lomond and Luss, Scotland

Today marks the beginning of the true Scotland trip for us! After watching Braveheart, we really looked forward to follow the trail of William Wallace!
*Cue bagpipe music*

12th May 2017

08:00 | Breakfast at 19 Snowden Stirling Guest House
Morning started with a sumptuous breakfast prepared by the host, together with the company of two other female guests who have travelled in the opposite direction of our itinerary. They shared their experience of travelling in Scotland thus far and told us that we are about to visit their favourite castle of Scotland! 

10:00 | Strolled along the Old Stirling Bridge
Old Stirling Bridge was introduced to us through an instagrammer as a good location to photograph the impressive Wallace Monument. It's connected to a park and was really lovely to see the locals going about their daily routines.
Oh, do not be misled by the plaque! This stone structure is not the original Stirling Bridge from the battle. The original wooden bridge has collapsed in the 1297 battle. 

11:00 | Climbed up to the Crown of The National Wallace Monument at Abbey Craig
Parked the car at the carpark and took a courtesy bus to reach the base of Wallace Monument. Bought our entry tickets from the reception desk and began our journey up the 246 spiral stairs. Along the way up, we went into three exhibition galleries to learn more about the monument, William Wallace and the battle at Stirling Bridge. The spiral staircase is pretty narrow, so the galleries also served the purpose of easing the walk and being the passing point for everyone.
Eventually we made it to "The Crown" which is the top of the monument. The view of the vast landscape around Abbey Craig was absolutely breathtaking! Thus, we braved the strong winds and stayed there to admire the scenery for much longer than we should have. 

13:00 | Toured the Stirling Castle
We went on to visit the Stirling Castle nearby which was highly recommended by our fellow travellers at the guest house. And indeed, It became one of our favourite castles of this trip!
Started the visit with eating ice cream bought from a cute ice cream truck just outside the castle while admiring the view of where we just came from. Next, we purchased the tickets and entered Stirling castle just in time for the free guided tour (takes place every half an hour) around the castle. The engaging guide shared with us the history and fascinating facts of the royal buildings. We strongly recommend joining the guided tour when visiting any place of interest! 
After the brief tour around the castle with the guide, we continued to walk around the castle to take photos and appreciate the buildings with some still in the midst of restoration. In addition, there are costumed characters hanging out in some rooms where you can mingle with them or ask questions.
Truly enjoyed our visit there! It felt like we stepped back in time and we'll always remember this castle with its unique yellow building named "The Great Hall".

16:00 | Late lunch at Oak Tree Inn near Loch Lomond
It's time for a late lunch! We headed towards Oak Tree Inn that was situated in the lovely loch side village of Balmaha. This is a really nice location for a stopover/meal. Saw a lot of hikers there as it's just across the Loch Lomond-Trossachs National Park visitor centre. 

17:00 | In search of the lone tree at Milarrochy Bay
Anders was captivated by a photographer's photos of this lone tree, and thus we went a little off our intended path to look for it. There is very little information about this tree, and thus we had a hard time finding it. 
Finally, we found it right here on the beach in front of a small building. The light was working against us by that hour of the day. Still, we took some shots and made the best out of the visit!

19:00 | Stopped over at Luss Village
We originally planned to stop by a few more places on our way to our next accommodation, but due to time running out, we had to drop a few of them. One that we thought we had to visit was Luss. It's dubbed by some people as the most beautiful village in Scotland, and once you step in there, you can see why!
The beautifully conserved cottages makes this village really special. We really wished we had more time here. Every cottage makes a good photo spot! Walking through the rows of cottages will lead you to the pier with a nice boardwalk that opens up to a fantastic view of Loch Lomond!

We had to rush off this place, but fortunately still took enough photos and made it worthwhile. We stopped by The Green Welly Stop to grab some quick dinner before doing a long and direct drive to Huntingtower Lodge, where we will spend the night. The evening skies accompanied us on this beautiful drive as we rode towards the sunset and ended our day.

You can read up on the rest of our 17 days' adventure in Scotland and England here