Main Births etc
Coordinates: 56°07′02″N 3°56′23″W / 56.117222, -3.939722
Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea
Scots: Stirlin
Stirling from Braehead - December 2004 - - 254316.jpg
Historic Stirling and Stùc a' Chroin

Stirling is in central Scotland.
Stirling is in central Scotland.

 Stirling shown within Scotland
Area   [1]
Population 36,142 (2011)[2]
    - Density 
OS grid reference NS795935
    - Edinburgh  43 mi (69 km) 
Parish Stirling
Council area Stirling
Lieutenancy area Stirling and Falkirk
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town STIRLING
Postcode district FK7-FK9
Dialling code 01786
Police Central Scotland
Fire Central Scotland
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Stirling
Scottish Parliament Stirling
List of places: UK • Scotland •

The Wolf Craig Seal. The ancient coat of arms of Stirling also show a wolf upon a rock above a stream.[3]

Stirling ( /ˈstɜɹlɪŋ/; Scots: Stirlin; Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea [ˈs̪t̪ɾuʝlə]) is a city in central Scotland, 26 miles (42 km) north-east of Glasgow and 37 miles (60 km) north-west of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The market town, surrounded by rich farmland, grew up connecting the royal citadel, the medieval old town with its merchants and tradesmen,[4] the bridge and the port. Located on the River Forth, Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, and is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire. Proverbially it is the strategically important "Gateway to the Highlands".

It has been said that "Stirling, like a huge brooch clasps Highlands and Lowlands together".[5][6] Similarly "he who holds Stirling, holds Scotland" is often quoted. Stirling's key position as the lowest bridging point of the River Forth before it broadens towards the Firth of Forth, made it a focal point[7] for travel north or south.[8]

When Stirling was temporarily under Anglo-Saxon sway, according to a 9th-century legend,[9] it was attacked by Danish invaders. The sound of a wolf roused a sentry, however, who alerted his garrison, which forced a Viking retreat.[10] This led to the wolf being adopted as a symbol of the town[11] as is shown on the 1511 Stirling Jug.[12] The area is today known as Wolfcraig.[13]

Even today the wolf appears with a goshawk on the council's coat of arms along with the recently chosen[14] motto: "Steadfast as the Rock".[15]

Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling is visually dominated by Stirling Castle. Stirling also has a medieval parish church, the Church of the Holy Rude, where, on 29 July 1567, the infant James VI was anointed King of Scots by the Bishop of Orkney with the service concluding after a sermon by John Knox.[16] The poet King was educated by George Buchanan and grew up in Stirling. He was later also crowned King of England and Ireland on 25 July 1603, bringing closer the countries of the United Kingdom.

Modern Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, tourism, retail, and industry. The mid-2012 census estimate for the population of the city is 36,440; the wider Stirling council area has a population of about 93,750.[17]

One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a royal burgh by King David I in 1130. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.


Stirling Castle (southwest aspect)


The origin of the name Stirling[18] is uncertain,[19] but folk etymology suggests that it originates in either a Scots or Gaelic term meaning the place of battle, struggle[20] or strife.[21] Other sources suggest that it originates in a Brythonic name meaning "dwelling place of Melyn",[22] with the first element being connected to Middle Welsh ystre-, "a dwelling".[23] The name may have originally been a hydronym, and connected to Brittonic *lïnn, "lake, pool" (Welsh llyn).[23] It is supposed that Stirling is the fortress of Iuddeu or Urbs Giudi where Oswiu of Northumbria was besieged by Penda of Mercia in 655, as recorded in Bede and contemporary annals.

Ancient History[]

A stone cist, found in Coneypark Nursery[24] in 1879, is Stirling's oldest catalogued artefact.[25] Bones from the cist were radiocarbon dated and found to be over four millennia old, originating within the date range 2152 to 2021 BC.[26] Nicknamed Torbrex Tam, the man, whose bones were discovered by workmen, died while still in his twenties.[27] Other Bronze Age finds near the city come from the area around Cambusbarron.[28] It had been thought that the Randolphfield standing stones were more than 3000 years old but recent radiocarbon dating suggests they may date from the time of Bruce.[29] The earliest known structures on Gillies Hill[30] were built by Iron Age people over 2000 years ago. Two structures are known: what is currently called Wallstale Dun[31] on the southern end of Touchadam Craig, and Gillies Hill fort[32] on the northwest end of the craig. South of the city, the King's Park prehistoric carvings can still be found.[33] Whether the ancient Maeatae or Manaw Gododdin tribes settled in Stirling is not clear.

Roman and early Medieval[]

The Auld Brig at Stirling

The castle rock has been strategically significant since at least the Roman occupation of Britain, due to its naturally defensible crag and tail hill: the bedrock on which Stirling Castle was built. However, if the Romans were ever on the current castle site then they didn't leave more than a coin or two. Nevertheless, Stirling enjoys a unique position on the border between the Lowlands and Highlands.

Its other notable geographic feature is its proximity to the lowest site of subjugation of the River Forth. Control of the bridge brought military advantage in times of unrest and; excise duty, or pontage dues[34] in peacetime. Unsurprisingly excise men were installed in a covered booth in the centre of the bridge to collect tax from any entering the royal burgh with goods.[35] Stirling remained the river's lowest reliable crossing point (that is, without a weather-dependent ferry or seasonal ford[36]) until the construction of the Alloa Swing Bridge between Throsk and Alloa in 1885.[37]

The Bridge Seal: Hic Armis Brutti Scoti Stant Hic Cruce Tuti[38]

The city has two Latin mottoes, which appeared on the earliest burgh seal[39] of which an impression of 1296 is on record.[40] The first alludes to the story as recorded by Boece who relates that in 855 Scotland was invaded by two Northumbrian princes, Osbrecht and Ella.[41] They united their forces with the Cumbrian Britons[42] in order to defeat the Scots. Having secured Stirling castle, they built the first stone bridge over the Forth

The Castle Seal: Continet Hoc in Se Nemus et Castrum Strivelinse[38]

On the top they reportedly raised a crucifix with the inscription: "Anglos, a Scotis separat, crux ista remotis; Arma hic stant Bruti; stant Scoti hac sub cruce tuti."[43] Bellenden translated this loosely as "I am free marche, as passengers may ken, To Scottis, to Britonis, and to Inglismen." It may be the stone cross was a tripoint for the three kingdom's borders or marches;[44] the cross functioning both as a dividing territorial marker, and as a uniting[45] witness stone like in the Bible story in Joshua 22.[46] "Angles and Scots here demarked, By this cross kept apart. Brits and Scots armed stand near, By this cross stand safe here." This would make the cross on the centre of the first stone bridge the Heart of Scotland.

The Stirling seal only has the second part and it's slightly different.

Hic Armis Bruti Scoti Stant Hic Cruce Tuti
(Brits and Scots armed and near, by this cross stand safe here.)

Apparently the Latin is not first rate having four syllables in "cruce tuti" but the meaning seems to be that the Lowland Strathclyde Britons on the southern shore and the Highland Pictish Scots[47] on the northern shore stand protected from each other by their common Christianity.[48]

The second motto is:

Continet Hoc in Se Nemus et Castrum Strivelinse
(Contained within this seal pressed down, the wood an' castle o' Stirlin' town.)

It has been claimed that the "Bridge" seal was regarded as the Burgh seal proper, the "Castle" seal being simply a reverse, used when the seal was affixed by a lace to a charter.[49] This agrees with a description in an official publication (which spells[50] Bruti with only one letter t).[51] Clearer images are available[52] with different lettering.[53] Sibbald conflated the two mottos into a single rhyme;[54] he gave no indication that he was aware of Boece's work.[55]

Stirling was first declared a royal burgh by King David in the 12th century, with later charters reaffirmed by subsequent monarchs. A ferry, and later bridge, on the River Forth at Stirling brought wealth and strategic influence, as did its tidal port at Riverside.[56] Major battles during the Wars of Scottish Independence took place at the Stirling Bridge in 1297 and at the nearby village of Bannockburn in 1314 involving William Wallace and Robert the Bruce respectively. After the battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace wrote to the Hanseatic leaders of Lübeck and Hamburg to encourage trade between Scottish ports (like Stirling) and these German cities.[57] There were also several Sieges of Stirling Castle in the conflict, notably in 1304.[58]

Late Medieval and early Modern[]

The tomb of James III, King of Scots and Margaret of Denmark at Cambuskenneth Abbey

Another important historical site in the area is the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, the resting place of King James III of Scotland and his queen, Margaret of Denmark.[59] The king died at the Battle of Sauchieburn by forces nominally led by his son and successor James IV. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Battle of Stirling also took place in the centre of Stirling on 12 September 1648. The fortifications continued to play a strategic military role during the 18th-century Jacobite risings. In 1715, the Earl of Mar failed to take control of the castle. In January 1746, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie seized control of the town but failed to take the Castle. On their consequent retreat northwards, they blew up the church of St. Ninians where they had been storing munitions; only the tower survived and can be seen to this day.[60] The castle and the church are shown on Blaeu's map[61] of 1654 which was derived from Pont's earlier map.[62]

Church of the Holy Rude (Holy Cross)

Standing near the castle, the Church of the Holy Rude is one of the town's most historically important buildings. Founded in 1129 it is the second oldest building in the city after Stirling castle. It was rebuilt in the 15th-century after Stirling suffered a catastrophic fire in 1405, and is reputed to be the only surviving church in the United Kingdom apart from Westminster Abbey to have held a coronation.[63] On 29 July 1567 the infant son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was anointed James VI of Scotland in the church.[63] James' bride, Anne of Denmark was crowned in the church at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. The Holy Rude congregation still meet and some 19th century parish records survive.[64] Musket shot marks that may come from Cromwell's troops during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms are clearly visible on the tower and apse of the church.[63]

Map of Veere, known in Stirling as Campvere, the staple port for Scotland between 1541 and 1799 Joan Blaeu, 1652

Economically, the city's port supported foreign trade, historically doing significant trade in the Low Countries, particularly with Bruges[65] in Belgium and Veere[66] in the Netherlands. In the 16th century there were so many Scots in Danzig[67] in Prussia that they had their own church congregation and trade is mentioned with that city in Stirling Council's minutes of 1560.[68] Around John Cowane's time there is an account which states there were about 30,000 Scots families living in Poland[69] although that was possibly[70] an exaggeration.[71] Trade with the Baltic[72] also took place such as a timber trade with Norway.

File:Cattle - Joseph Denovan Adam (1841–1896).jpg

Cattle (1878) by Joseph Denovan Adam (1841–1896) The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

After the Jacobite threat had faded but before the railways were established, the Highland cattle drovers would use the Auld Brig on their way to market at Falkirk[73] or Stenhousemuir.[74] Three times a year, tens of thousands of cattle, sheep and ponies were moved together to the trysts in the south with some drovers going as far as Carlisle or even London's Smithfield.[75] There is a record of a four mile long tailback (of livestock) developing from St. Ninians to Bridge of Allan after a St. Ninians tollman had a dispute.[76]

Victorian and Modern[]

In the early 19th century an "exceedingly low" cost steamboat service used to run between Stirling and Newhaven or Granton.[77] The coming of the railways in 1848 started the decline of the river traffic,[78] not least because the Alloa Swing Bridge downstream restricted access for shipping. The railways did provide opportunity too with one Riverside company selling their reaping machines as far afield as Syria and Australia. Similarly, in 1861, a company making baby carriages was set up. These prams were exported to Canada, South America, India and South Africa.[79]

The Princes Street drill hall was completed in 1908.[80]

After the blockades of the World Wars there was some increase in the use of the port including a tea trade with India. However, with normal shipping lanes open, the growth of the railways including The Forth Rail Bridge, left the harbour uneconomical and by the mid 20th century the port had ceased to operate.


File:Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836–1908) The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum.jpg

Henry Campbell-Bannerman is one of Stirling's most famous publicly-elected representatives, serving as local MP from 1868–1908 and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1905–1908. James Guthrie (artist). Study oil on canvas, 1908, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum There is also a bust at the Smith near artwork of other local politicians[81] and a related full-length portrait in Edinburgh.[82] There is a statue of Henry Campbell Bannerman next to the Municipal Buildings in the city centre.

In terms of local government, the city of Stirling is a part of the wider Stirling Council area, which governs on matters of local administration as set out by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994. The current members of the Council were voted in 2017 for a term of office of 5 years. The May 2017 local government election resulted in the Scottish Conservative party and Scottish National Party each winning nine councillors, while the Labour Party won four seats and the Scottish Green Party won one.[83] However, subsequently one Conservative councillor left the party to sit as an Independent[84]. The Provost of Stirling is Cllr Christine Simpson.[85]

For the purposes of the Scottish Parliament, the city of Stirling forms part of the Stirling constituency of the Scottish Parliament constituency. The Stirling Scottish Parliament (or Holyrood) constituency created in 1999 is one of nine within the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional members to produce a form of proportional representation. The constituency is represented by Bruce Crawford, MSP of the Scottish National Party.[86]

In terms of national government, the city of Stirling forms part of county constituency of Stirling constituency of the House of Commons, electing one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the parliament of the United Kingdom by first past the post system. Stephen Kerr of the Scottish Conservative Party is the MP for Stirling constituency of the House of Commons since defeating Steven Paterson[87] by 148 votes at the General Election in June 2017.[88]

As Scotland comprises a single European Parliament Constituency, Stirling participates in electing six MEPs using the D'Hondt method of proportional representation every five years.

Historical voting records can be found in online databases.[89]


Like most of the United Kingdom, Stirling has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb).

Climate data for Stirling (25 m asl, averages 1981–2010, extremes 2009–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.6
Average high °C (°F) 7.1
Average low °C (°F) 1.0
Record low °C (°F) −11.1
Rainfall mm (inches) 128.8
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 16.7 12.1 13.6 9.5 10.2 8.9 10.7 11.4 11.9 14.2 14.2 13.9 147.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 40.6 66.5 98.5 132.7 175.3 166.4 157.9 153.4 119.1 82.9 54.9 32.2 1,280.4
Source #1: MetOffice[90]
Source #2: [91]


The Abbey Craig is one of a series of local Crag and Tail hills

Stirling Bridge and the National Wallace Monument

Stirling is renowned as the Gateway to the Highlands and is generally regarded as occupying a strategic position at the point where the flatter, largely undulating Scottish Lowlands meet the rugged slopes of the Highlands along the Highland Boundary Fault.[92][93] The starkness of this contrast is evidenced by the many hills and mountains of the lower Highlands such as Ben Vorlich and Ben Ledi which can be seen to the northwest of the city. On the other hand, the Carse of Stirling, stretching to the west and east of the city, is one of the flattest and most agriculturally productive expanses of land in the whole of Scotland.

The land surrounding Stirling[94] has been most affected by glacial erosion and deposition. The city itself has grown up around its castle which stands atop an ancient quartz-dolerite sill, known as the Stirling Sill, a major defensive position which was at the lowest crossing point on the River Forth. Stirling stands on the Forth at the point where the river widens and becomes tidal. To the east of the city the Ochil Hills dominate the skyline with the highest peak in the range being Ben Cleuch, although Dumyat is more noticeable from Stirling. The Ochils meet the flat carse (floodplain) of the River Forth to the east of the distinctive geographical feature of Abbey Craig, a crag and tail hill upon which stands the 220 ft (67 m) high National Wallace Monument.[95]

Areas of Stirling[]

Top of the Town consists of Broad Street, Castle Wynd, Ballengeich Pass, Lower Castle Hill Road, Darnley Street, Baker Street ( formerly Baxters St), St John Street and St Mary's Wynd. These streets all lead up to Stirling Castle and are the favourite haunt of tourists who stop off at the Old Town Jail, Mar's Wark, Argyll's Lodging and the castle. Ballengeich Pass leads to the graveyard at Ballengeich and the Castle Wynd winds past the old graveyard. The Top of the Town from Broad Street upwards is renowned for its cobblestoned roads, and cars can be heard rattling over the cobblestones on the way down. Craft shops and tourist-focused shops are evident on the way up and once at the top, panoramic views are available across Stirling and beyond.

All areas[96]

The fire station built on the old quarry, the soon to change Craigforth Crescent[97] in The Raploch and The Castle Business Park towards the M9. Viewed from Stirling Castle

Broad Street at the heart of Stirling's Old Town area (called Top of the Town by locals)

  • Abbey Craig
  • Airthrey
  • Allan Park
  • Back o' Hill
  • Bannockburn
  • Borestone
  • Braehead
  • Bridgehaugh
  • Broomridge
  • Brucefields
  • Burghmuir
  • Cambusbarron
  • Cambuskenneth
  • Causewayhead
  • Chartershall
  • Corn Exchange
  • Cornton
  • Coxethill
  • Craigforth
  • Craigmill
  • Craig Leith
  • Cultenhove
  • Dumyat
  • Forthbank
  • Gillies Hill
  • Gowan Hill
  • Hillpark
  • Kenningknowes
  • Kersemill
  • Kildean
  • King's Park
  • Ladyneuk
  • Laurelhill
  • Livilands
  • Loanhead
  • Logie
  • Meadowforth
  • Mercat Cross
  • Pirnhall
  • Queenshaugh
  • Raploch
  • Randolphfield
  • Riverside
  • Spittal Hill
  • Springkerse
  • St. Ninians
  • Top of the Town
  • Torbrex
  • Whins of Milton
  • Viewforth
  • Westhaugh
  • Wolfcraig

Historical place names for Stirling town in 1858-61 were compiled by O.S. map makers.[98]


The settlement of Stirling had a population of 48,440 in 2012. According to the 2001 census, 52.7% of the population was female compared to 47.2% male. Stirling had both a smaller proportion of under 16s, at 16.7% compared to the Scottish average of 19.2%, and a smaller proportion of those of pensionable age: 17.8% – compared to the Scottish average of 18.6%.[99] The highest proportion of the population, at 24.3%, was concentrated in the 16–29 age group. Stirling also had a higher proportion of non-Scottish born residents at 16.5%, compared to the Scottish average of 12.8%. The population was also slightly younger than the Scottish average of 37 – the median age for males was 34; and the median age for females was 36, to the national average of 39. The population peaks and troughs significantly when the students come and go from the city.

Historical records also exist both in book form[65] and in online databases.[100]


File:The Stirling Wolf.jpg

The Stirling Wolf (1704, oil on canvas, Artist Unknown) The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

Walking the Marches[44] is a custom probably started in the 12th century. The only way the town's boundaries could be protected was to walk round inspecting them annually. The walk was followed by a dinner.[101] This was traditionally done by the Birlaw men made up from members of the Seven Trades, the Guildry and Council. In 2014 the tradition was revived after an official abeyance of several years.[102]

There are about sixteen libraries and two mobile libraries in Stirling.[103] The Smith Art Gallery and Museum is now free to tourists and residents alike. Shearer's 1895 Penny Guide to Stirling and Neighbourhood used to list it under "How to spend a few hours on a wet day".[104] The Macrobert Arts Centre has a variety of exhibitions and performances. There are many events at the Tolbooth and The Albert Halls.[105] Stirling has hosted the National Mòd several times: in 1909, 1961, 1971,1987 and 2008.[106]


File:Woman Clasping the Bible.jpg

Woman Clasping the Bible George Harvey (1806–1876) The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

The earliest known version of Psalm 1 in Scots by Alexander Montgomerie from Zabur or The Book of Psalms. He was one of a circle of poets in the Stirling court of James VI.[107]

There are currently about 20 churches in the city. These include:

Church of Scotland[108]

  • Allan Park South Church [109]
  • Cambusbarron Parish Church[110]
  • Church of the Holy Rude [111]
  • North Parish Church [112]
  • St Columba's Church [113]
  • St Mark's Parish Church [114]
  • St Ninians Old Parish Church [115]
  • Viewfield Church [116]

Roman Catholic[117]

  • Holy Spirit, St. Ninians[118]
  • Our Lady and St Ninian's, Bannockburn [119]
  • St Margaret of Scotland and Holy Spirit, Raploch [120]
  • St Mary's Church, Top of the Town [121]

Other churches

  • Cornerstone Community Church [122]
  • Cornton Baptist Church [123]
  • Holy Trinity Episcopal Church [124]
  • St Ninians United Free Church of Scotland[125]
  • Stirling Baptist Church [126]
  • Stirling Free Church [127]
  • Stirling Methodist Church [128]
  • St. Ninian's Community Church [129]
  • The Salvation Army [130]


  • Central Scotland Islamic Centre[131]


At the centre of a large rural agricultural hinterland that encompasses some of the flattest and most productive land in Scotland, Stirling principally functioned as a market town, symbolised by its Mercat cross, with farmers coming to sell their products and wares in the large agricultural market that was held in the town. Today, agriculture still plays a part in the economic life of Stirling, given its focus at the heart of a large rural area, but to a much lesser extent than previously.

With Stirling's development as a market town and its location as the focus of transport and communications in the region, it has developed a substantial retail sector serving a wide range of surrounding communities as well as the city itself. Primarily centred on the city centre, there are a large number of chain stores, as well as the Thistles shopping centre. However this has been augmented by out-of-town developments such as the Springkerse Retail Park on the city bypass to the east of Stirling, and the development of a large Sainsbury's in the Raploch.

A major new regeneration project on the site of the former port area and the 40-acre (160,000 m2) former Ministry of Defence site, adjacent to Stirling Railway Station, is currently underway.[132] Known as Forthside, it has the aim of developing a new waterfront district linked to the railway station via a new pedestrian bridge. The development comprises retail, residential and commercial elements, including a conference centre, hotel and Vue multiplex cinema, that will ultimately expand the city centre area, linking it to the River Forth, which has been cut off from the city centre area since the construction of the A9 bypass under the railway station in the 1960s.[133] For the first time in 100 years, local people will have access to the banks of the River Forth in the city centre with landscaped public areas, footpaths, cycleways and an improved public transport network.

The 19th-century Wallace Monument

In the service sector, financial services as well as tourism are the biggest employers. The financial services and insurance company Prudential have a large and well-established base at Craigforth on the outskirts of Stirling. In terms of tourism, the presence of such historical monuments as Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument and other nearby attractions like Blair Drummond Safari Park, the key role which Stirling has played in Scottish history, as well as the scenery of the area, has bolstered Stirling's position as an important tourist destination in Scotland.

The University of Stirling and Stirling Council are two of the biggest employers in the area. Knowledge related industries, research and development as well as life sciences have clustered around the university in the Stirling University Innovation Park, close to its main campus. Other public sector agencies that are major employers in the city include Police Scotland, Scottish Prison Service, NHS Forth Valley and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Mauchline ware started producing wooden snuff-boxes in 1790 in Mauchline, Ayrshire. They were produced of the wood from the trees from the Castle craig. Today they are highly collectible.[134]

Stirling is home to national construction companies Ogilvie Group, chaired by Duncan Ogilvie, who is listed in the Times Rich List as being worth £35 million.

A Bank of Scotland survey in 2009 found that workers in Stirling had the highest average earnings of £716 a week.[135]


The City of Stirling is home to a large number of commuters but has fewer commuting to work in other areas, than travel into the city. About half of Scotland's population live within an hour's travel time of Stirling.[136]

Local bus services to districts within the city are almost completely provided by buses operated by First Scotland East. The surrounding towns, like Bridge of Allan, Alloa, Falkirk and Glasgow via Cumbernauld have services from the bus station.

Coaches to many Scottish towns and cities also run regularly.[137]

There are also railway links from Stirling railway station, including inter-city rail services to Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh Waverley, Inverness, Glasgow Queen Street, and London King's Cross. Services to Alloa, Bridge of Allan, Falkirk and Dunblane also run. Stirling Council provides some approximate journey times.[138] Working lines include the Highland Main Line, the Edinburgh–Dunblane line and the Croy Line. The station formerly provided direct railway services to Callander and Oban, and to Loch Lomond, over very scenic lines, and a fast service to Dunfermline.

Boats at Riverside, Stirling

Cities with motorways links close to Stirling include Glasgow, via the M80 motorway past Cumbernauld, and Edinburgh, via the M9 motorway past Falkirk. To the north, the M9 provides access to Dunblane with easy links to Perth and further beyond the Central Belt.

Stirling has no airport, but there are international airports at Glasgow and Edinburgh which can be reached within an hour. Light aircraft can be chartered at Cumbernauld Airport.

Stirling used to have steamboats which carried hundreds of passengers a day.[78] There is currently no working port at Stirling but there are plans to develop the river[139] and the harbour[140] which might include links with towns on the Firth of Forth. Since the Forth is tidal at Stirling, development of pontoon style landing stages could potentially allow river taxis and tourist boats to operate during the summer.[141]

In 2017 electification of the Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane railway is likely to lead to significant disruption of road traffic in Stirling which could last for some time.[142]

Sports and recreation[]

The headquarters of the Scottish Institute of Sport located on the campus at the University of Stirling

Stirling is home to professional league teams in football, rugby and cricket.


The first Stirling Scottish Marathon was held on May 21, 2017. April 29, 2018 is the date of the planned 2018 event.


The National Curling Academy is located in Stirling Sports Village.[143] It was opened in 2017 by Eve Muirhead.[144] They use facilities linked to The Peak.[145] It was hoped this would increase the chances of British medals at events like the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.[146]



The senior football team, Stirling Albion, play in the Scottish League Two at their home ground at Forthbank Stadium. In July 2010, the Stirling Albion Supporters' Trust successfully took over the running of the club buying out the long-serving chairman, Peter McKenzie, after 14 months of campaigning. This made Stirling Albion the first fully owned community club in the history of British football, after previous attempts made by Manchester United, Liverpool and Rangers.[147]


Stirling University L.F.C. are the premier women's football team. They play in the Scottish Women's Premier League. Their home ground is The Gannochy Sports Centre at Stirling University.[148]


Stirling County currently play in rugby's Scottish Premiership Division One.


Stirling Knights Basketball Team are based at the Peak at Forthbank beside Forthbank Stadium.[149]


The athletics team Central Athletic Club are based at the University of Stirling.


The University Stirling Wanderers Hockey Club have also moved to a brand new (international standard) pitch at Forthbank for season 2008–09.[150]


Next to this pitch there is also the ground of Stirling County Cricket Club, whose pavilion captured an architectural award in June 2009,[151] three years after its opening.

Scotland international footballers Billy Bremner, John Colquhoun, Duncan Ferguson, female footballer Frankie Brown and brothers Gary and Steven Caldwell were born in Stirling. So were rugby internationals Kenny Logan, Allister Hogg and Alison McGrandles, jockey Willie Carson, and cricketer Dougie Brown.

The University of Stirling is a major centre of sports training and education in Scotland. It was designated as Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence by the Scottish Government in 2008. The headquarters of the Scottish Institute of Sport is a purpose-built facility on the campus which opened in 2002. Also at the university is the Scottish National Swimming Academy, where Rio 2016, Olympic silver medalists and students at the university, Duncan Scott and Robbie Renwick trained. Commonwealth gold medalist Ross Murdoch, who also competed at Rio 2106, is a student at the university. The Gannochy National Tennis centre, which is seen as a tennis centre of excellence, was where Andy Murray and his brother Jamie Murray honed their skills as juniors. Gordon Reid, wheel chair Olympic gold medalist in 2016, was a tennis scholar at the university.[152] The university men's and women's golf teams are consistently ranked among the best in Europe.[153]

The university has a dedicated sports studies department, which is within the Faculty of Health Science and Sport, and is ranked amongst the best in the United Kingdom for its provision of sports facilities, with the maximum 5-star award, shared by 16 other universities in the UK.[154] The University of Stirling also currently hosts the Scottish men's lacrosse champions.

Stirling and its surrounding area has a number of 9- and 18-hole golf courses, the largest of which is the Stirling Golf Course, located in the Kings Park area of the city. The Peak, a new Sports Village, was opened in April 2009 to cater for a range of sporting activities.[155]

In June 2014, Stirling will become the home of Scottish cricket after an agreement between Stirling County Cricket Club, Cricket Scotland and Stirling Council. It is hoped that the redevelopment of the ground will start at end 2014 with the intention being to upgrade it to international match standards. Scotland will play the majority of their home international games at the ground, starting with the World T20 qualifiers in the summer of 2015.

The development will see a new pavilion and indoor training facility built at New Williamfield, the home of Stirling County Cricket Club, with Cricket Scotland relocating its headquarters from the National Cricket Academy at Ravelston, Edinburgh.[156]


The University of Stirling opened in 1967 on a greenfield site outside the town. Currently there are 11,100 students studying at the university, of which 7,995 are undergraduates and 3105 are postgraduates. There are 120 nationalities represented on the university campus, with 19% of students coming from overseas.[157] It has grown into a major research centre, with a large Innovation Park located immediately adjacent to the main university campus. Innovation Park has grown since its initiation in 1993, and is now home to 40 companies engaging in various forms of research and development.[158] In January 2008 it was announced that students from Singapore would be able to gain degrees in retail from the University of Stirling in a tie-up with the country's Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).[159]

Looking out over Airthrey Loch on the main campus of The University of Stirling

Stirling is also home to part of the wider Forth Valley College which was formed on 1 August 2005 from the merger of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannan colleges.

There are four main high schools in Stirling itself – Stirling High School, with a school roll of 964 pupils, Wallace High School with 958 pupils, St Modan's High School with 912 pupils, and Bannockburn High School in Broomridge with 752 pupils.[160][161][162][163] All the city's secondary school premises have been redeveloped as a result of a Public-private partnership scheme. Stirling also has a Gaelic-medium unit situated in the city's Riverside Primary School which teaches pupils from across Stirling and Clackmannanshire through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.[164]

On film and TV[]

  1. Stirling: Gateway To The Highlands[165] (1938) B&W 20 mins silent – video 1: Street scenes from Stirling. video 2: pre-WW2 soldiers at the castle.
  2. Stirling Charities Day[166] (13 May 1939) B&W 7 mins silent – Includes shots of kids, costumes and carriages.
  3. Neighbours[167] – (1952) violent Oscar winning animation by the Stirling-born Canadian film maker Norman McLaren.
  4. River Forth[168] (1956) B&W silent 15 mins – Including animals being herded through the streets.
  5. The Heart Of Scotland[169] (1962) colour sound 24 mins – Shots of the castle with commentary on Bruce and Wallace.
  6. Holiday Scotland[170] (1966) colour and sound 42 mins – Includes Stirling Castle and Stirling Bridge.
  7. Kidnapped[171] (1971) dir. Delbert Mann – Starring Michael Caine – with several scenes in Stirling Castle.
  8. Royal Stirling[172] (1972) colour and sound 23 mins – Includes a lion cub at the castle, motor racing and shots of Blair Drummond Safari Park
  9. The University Of Stirling[173] (1973) colour and sound 19 min – 1970s campus, students and teachers (includes Norman MacCaig).
  10. FutureWorld Stirling 1984[174] (1984) 28 minutes – dir. Peter G. Reilly for Stirling District Council – has Magnus Magnusson explaining ambitious plans for the Top of the Town. It is more of a series of pieces to camera than Cumbernauld, Town for Tomorrow, as Magnusson moves from the Smith through various well-known but dilapidated buildings to Gowan Hill and back to the castle. At each stop he presents John W. Morgan's script which gives something of the history or the proposed plans for revitalising the area.
  11. Gregory's Two Girls [175] (1999) dir. Bill Forsyth – has scenes at and around Stirling Castle.
  12. To End all Wars [176] (2001) dir. David L. Cunningham has scenes at Stirling Castle.
  13. Way Back Home (2010) Has Danny MacAskill perform stunts on his bike on Stirling Bridge.[177]
  14. KJB: The Book That Changed the World (2011) Has John Rhys-Davies narrating scenes about James VI at Stirling Castle.[178]
  15. Britain's Lost Routes with Griff Rhys Jones (2012) Episode 3 shows the difficulties "Highland Cattle Drovers" might have had at Frew and shows aerial shots and taking cows across the Auld Brig.[179]
  16. Secrets of Great British Castles (2015) Dan Jones presents the History of Stirling Castle up to James VI.[180]
  17. Netflix drama Outlaw King [181] had scenes filmed at Mugdock Country Park with a production/support team camped at Falleninch Field, situated beneath Stirling Castle.

Twinned cities[]

  • Russia Vyborg, Russia
  • France Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
  • United States Dunedin, Florida, United States
  • Hungary Óbuda, Hungary
  • Canada Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Turkey Kecioren, Turkey[182]

Notable people[]

  • Lauren Mayberry - musician
  • Anna Sloan - Olympic curler - She currently plays third for the Eve Muirhead rink
  • Frank and Harold Barnwell – pilots and aircraft designers
  • Frank Beattie – footballer
  • Billy Bremner – former Leeds & Internationalist footballer
  • Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman – former resident
  • Gary Caldwell – Former Scotland International footballer and current Partick Thistle manager.
  • Steven Caldwell – footballer
  • Willie Carson – jockey
  • Duncan Ferguson – footballer
  • John Grierson – documentary film pioneer
  • King James VI of Scotland – former resident
  • John Joseph Jolly Kyle – pioneer chemist
  • Christian Maclagan – Sunday School teacher, antiquarian, early archaeologist and suffragist
  • Mary, Queen of Scots – former resident
  • John McAleese – team leader during the SAS assault on the Iranian embassy in May 1980[183][184]
  • Norman McLaren – animation pioneer
  • Muir Mathieson – film music composer
  • Neil Oliver – television presenter
  • John PatonVictoria Cross recipient
  • Kirsty Young – television presenter

See also[]


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