A man is half sat up on the ground, speaking to his trusted friend. A few minutes later he speaks his final words and collapses to the ground in silence. A crowd of onlookers pause for a few seconds before clapping and smiling at the display.
Live Actor Performances
This is how we began our recent day out at The National Wallace Monument, with theatre. The actors at the monument enjoy their work and are particularly good at getting a few laughs throughout their serious historic performances.
The performance started back in Roman times when a Roman emperor visited the area with his son, to show him the edge of the empire. This quickly followed onto the 7th century AD when two men returned to the fort on Abbey Craig to find it burned to the ground, the fire was so intense that it even burned the stone! The men discussed how this happened and aside ‘magic’ there had been signs of large men and boats. Hinting at the possibility of Vikings burning down the fort. I assume that this isn’t confirmed, which is why it was only hinted at, but it’s an interesting possibility.
The final performance was of course the heroic William Wallace and Andrew De Moray who led the Scottish army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. As they looked out to the English army gathering on the opposite side of the river below, they discussed their battle tactics. This part of the performance was probably the highlight for most and really entrancing to watch!
The Battle Of Stirling Bridge
If I ask our 3 year old what happened at the Battle of Stirling Bridge he happily tells me that the army got stuck in the bog and the bridge was burned down behind them. Our 5 year old knows a little more detail and talks about how the horses and armour were too heavy and weighed them down and that the rest of the English army fled after the Scots had won.
What I hadn’t realised previously was that the English army was led by a tax man rather than someone who knew how to fight and he clearly didn’t know battle tactics. Apparently, if the English army had crossed just a short distance upstream they could have come round behind the Scots army and won instead. Fortunately for Wallace and Moray this didn’t happen!
The Hall of Arms in the monument explains the battle well and the kids particularly like the illuminated display of the battle happening. We normally like to listen to Wallace and Moray speaking in this room too, but as it was busy people kept standing right in front of us and then one group changed the language to German, so we gave up! This hasn’t happened when we have visited before. However, I think there were just so many tour groups visiting that particular day.
After the Hall of Arms we climbed up to the Hall of Heroes, where we are looking forward to seeing the first female busts to be added in the near future.
Then up to my 5 year olds favourite room, the Royal Chamber where there is a large jigsaw and a model of the monument to build. You can also learn why the monument was built and why this particular design was chosen.
Of course we couldn’t leave without visiting the Crown of the monument and gazing out at the hills and battlefields below. Admittedly the battlefields are now just fields, but it’s interesting to see where they were in the landscape.
For The Kids
We were at the Wallace Monument for a special event, which included several things for kids. Our 3 year old had his face painted for free, a knight of course, and you could try on the dressing up clothes in the Keeper’s Lodge.
As always, younger visitors are each given a booklet of activities to complete on their way round the monument. Most are aimed for older primary school children who can read the signs and find out information. However, you can still help younger children with those sections. There are plenty of other easier tasks in the booklet such a maze and finding parts of architecture whilst exploring the monument.
Check out the National Wallace Monument for more events this year!
Pin For Later
* We were given tickets for the purpose of this post, however all opinions are my own.