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A ‘Portrait Bench’ - celebrating the lives of three legendary historical figures with links to South Lanarkshire has been unveiled in Strathclyde Country Park.
The bench strikingly depicts three figures from history - the legendary warrior William Wallace, social reformer Robert Owen and explorer David Livingstone, selected following a vote in which members of the public chose persons whose place in Scottish history is acknowledged.
The portrait bench also signifies the completion of a new walking and cycling route from Hamilton to Larkhall, which takes in Strathclyde Country Park and Chatelherault Country Park, a beautiful area with riverside walks along the Avon Water and a backdrop of rich, picturesque woodland.
The route (and the portrait bench) were being funded as part of a national project by Sustrans, which is developing its National Cycle Network into communities across the UK. Funding also came from South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Government and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
As the portrait bench was unveiled South Lanarkshire Provost Eileen Logan said: “This special bench marks the completion of this walking and cycling route, and it is a unique way to celebrate three very well known figures that have clear links to South Lanarkshire”.
Provost Logan is pictured beneath the image of Sir William Wallace, as she talks to a footsoldier from Wallace’s army!
Click on the links below for more information:
Student musicians performing in the Hall of Heroes - a first for the Monument
On Sunday 2nd December the National Wallace Monument opened its doors to visitors free of charge to mark the celebration of St. Andrew’s Day, and among the features enjoyed by over 1,000 visitors was live acoustic Scottish music played by a group of students from Cumbernauld and Motherwell Colleges.
Their programme started off with four students performing a drums corp, and throughout the day traditional folk music was played, including original songs featuring the poetry of Robert Burns.
The theme of ‘Braveheart’ was the inspiration behind one of the magnificent displays from East Kilbride Flower Club, which delighted visitors to the Gardening Scotland Show at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, in June 2012. Just as the story of William Wallace inspired the Academy award-winning film, so the legend of Scotland’s national hero continues to inspire visitors who arrive in Stirling from all across the globe.
The National Wallace Monument provided the perfect vantage point from which to view the flotilla which made its way up the River Forth to Stirling at the beginning of June 2012 to mark the Queen’s Jubilee and to add to the celebrations. From the top of the Monument there is a spectacular view of the River Forth as it winds its way past the city of Stirling, and of course visitors are able to look down at the very spot where William Wallace achieved his famous victory at The Battle of Stirling Bridge.
Music lovers visiting the Monument on Tuesday 5th June 2012 had a special treat, as the attraction was playing host to a group of traditional musicians from the West of Ireland, who combined their skills and talent and took advantage of the sunshine to entertain and delight visitors. There was even a demonstration of traditional Irish dancing to add to the occasion!
The first ever Archery for Everyone event at the Monument at the start of June 2012 was enjoyed by young and old visitors alike, as they were given the opportunity to try this ancient combative sport for themselves, and as they came to realise just how much skill would have been required by the archers who fought during the mediaeval period at encounters such as The Battle of Stirling Bridge.
On Sunday 30th October cancer survivor Sheena Stourbridge (from Aberfeldy, in Perthshire) had a very special encounter at The National Wallace Monument - with the man who saved her life.
Sheena, 56, and Mark Quinn, who lives in Newmilns, completed a sponsored walk from their respective homes, which finished at the Monument, which is the setting for an annual fund-raising abseil for Anthony Nolan.
Mark, 43, said:
“Sheena and I both wanted to do something for Anthony Nolan, to give something back. We decided on a sponsored walk from our own front doors until we met in the middle, at the Wallace Monument.”
Sheena was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1997, but managed the disease with drug treatment until the start of 2006, when doctors told her that she would need a stem cell, or bone marrow, transplant in the next six months. When Sheena’s sister was found not to be a match, she turned to the Anthony Nolan register to find an unrelated donor.
Mark had joined the register in November 2005, and it was just six months later that he was told that he was a perfect match for a patient. He donated in June 2006, but due to strict anonymity rules knew nothing about the person he had helped. It wasn’t until March 2010 that Sheena made contact, and they met up for the first time earlier this year.
“It was a very emotional occasion – to meet the person who selflessly saved my life was very special.”
Sheena and Mark decided to walk from their own front doors and meet in the middle, both to mark their new friendship and to raise awareness and funds for Anthony Nolan.
Scotland’s hillforts are amongst the most visible ancient monuments in the landscape; they are often large, in very prominent locations and are both physically and intellectually accessible. The majority of these hillforts are recognised to be of national significance, yet most of them remain under researched.
...visitors to The Monument would have been able to take some refreshment as they climbed up the hill towards the tower, if they stopped off at the Monument’s famous Tea Room, and perhaps enjoyed a seat at a table on the veranda.
Unfortunately - the story of the Monument’s original Tea Room has never been recorded, but the site where it once stood can clearly be seen at the bend in the roadway, near the pathway used by visitors following The Abbey Trail, or making their way towards the Stirling Viewpoint.
It is believed that the Tea Room (the interior which was understood to have featured a dramatic painting recreating the scene of The Battle of Stirling Bridge) fell into disrepair during (or after) World War II, and was obviously never re-opened, but demolished at some time thereafter. Sadly, the famous painting of the battle scene, completed for the 600th Anniversary of the Battle, in 1897, was discarded in the 1940s. It was the work of Robert William Brown, a master painter who lived in Stirling at 33 Friar Street, and happily a postcard of the work survives, and can be seen on the SCRAN Web Site (www.scran.ac.uk).
This wonderful colour picture of the original Tea Room has been kindly provided by the Wilson family of Ontario (Canada) and Wallacestone (Scotland).
Hop on a train and make tracks for Stirling to enjoy a great day out.
With ScotRail’s fantastic Kids Go Free tickets, up to two children can travel free with every adult, on off-peak trains, all week.
There’s lots to explore and enjoy in Stirling, from the incredible buildings in the city’s Old Town, through to first-class shopping in the Thistle Centre, and a choice of great family-friendly restaurants.
Plan your day out in Stirling now - and for further information on ScotRail’s great Kids Go Free tickets, CLICK HERE.
(*) - One free child’s admission with each adult paying the standard charge.
The Fireworks Display on Monday 2nd August 2010 which marked the end of the 'mFEST' arts festival at the macrobert centre in Stirling, was a huge success - spectacularly lighting up the night sky behind the Monument, and the colourful show was enjoyed by an excited audience watching from the University of Stirling campus. Some of the striking images can be viewed in the gallery by clicking here.
On St. Andrew’s Day the winner of STV’s ‘Greatest Scots’ programme was announced - Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, whose birth 250 years ago has been marked with a series of special events the length and breadth of the country in 2009. Sir William Wallace’s status in Scotland as a true patriot and martyr was recognised in the results of the public vote - as he was voted into 2nd place from the 35 finalists, a close runner up. Not a bad achievement more than 700 years after Wallace’s execution!
Whether you want to enjoy a ramble in the woods, or take a bracing walk, there's lots to explore and discover on The Abbey Craig!
From the front of The Monument you can follow the trails using the special waymarkers.
The pathways in and around The Abbey Craig have all been upgraded, to make it even easier to explore this area, and to enjoy the wonderful views. You can also download a special map to help you follow the paths - CLICK HERE.