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The National Wallace Monument

scotlandjourney.com/files/2009/02/wallacemonument.jpg" alt="The National Wallace Monument photographed by Finlay McWalter" width="300" height="225" />The National Wallace Monument can be found on the Abbey Craig a couple of miles north of Stirling. This is the spot that William Wallace chose to watch the approach of the English before the Battle of Stirling Bridge which was to be his greatest victory. The monument is a popular tourist attraction with Scots and foreigners alike and it is well worth a visit. The monument was built thanks to public donations and the Scottish people at home and abroad chipped in over £10,000 to see the monument erected back in 1869. It is well over 60 meters tall and took over ten years to build. It is easy to find with signposts on the nearby A91 and from Stirling city centre. There is a large car park with a pavilion where you can purchase tickets. A mini bus runs back and forth up to the monument or you can opt to walk through the woods which I’d recommend as long as the weather isn’t too bad. You can also buy tickets at the monument and there is a coffee shop and a souvenir and gift shop. Audio tours are available in various languages so you can make the most of your visit. The monument tells the story of William Wallace’s rise to prominence. He led the Scots in the name of John Balliol against the English aggressor Edward I and was appointed as Guardian of Scotland for a short period. He enjoyed a few successes over superior English forces thanks to his skill on the battlefield. He was defeated at Falkirk in 1298 and eventually captured and brutally executed in 1305. His exploits were immortalised in a popular poem which was written in the late 15th century by Blind Harry and he has been considered a national hero since then. The highlight of the monument is the sword of William Wallace and it has to be seen to be believed. It is an incredible 5 feet 6 inches long and weighs 6 pounds. You can only wonder at the strength of the man who wielded it in combat. The monument also features the Hall of Heroes where you’ll find busts of all sorts of famous Scottish characters from Sir Walter Scott to Robert the Bruce. There is also an exhibition about the building of the monument and upon reaching the top you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view over the surrounding countryside with Stirling Castle clearly visible in the distance. It really is a stunning view not to be missed. The monument is generally open between 10am and 5pm although the hours vary in the busy months during the summer when it opens a bit earlier and shuts a bit later and then over the winter it doesn’t open until 10.30am and shuts at 4pm. An adult ticket is just £6.50 and a child £4. It is a fairly small inside so it won’t take you long to wander round the exhibits but you’ll enjoy the surrounding the countryside and you should definitely take time to enjoy the view.