Esplanade, Stirling Castle Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

These directions will guide you along the route of the Stirling Castle audio walk. Why not print out this page and take it with you?

The walk takes an hour to an hour and a half if you're listening to the audio, longer if you wish to explore any of the sites in further detail.

Stirling Old Town is built on a very steep hill, and the walk involves a flight of steps, so this walk is unsuitable for wheelchair users. An alternative walk around Stirling is also available, which would be more suitable for wheelchair users.


  • Broad Street
  • Stirling
  • Scotland

The walk starts on Broad Street, in the heart of Stirling’s Old Town. There are three particular points to note: the Mercat Cross (this was Stirling’s marketplace); the Tolbooth, where the town council would have met; and Norrie’s House – typical of the merchants’ homes in the burgh.

Point 1: Broad Street


Broad Street, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Broad Street

From here, walk to the top of Broad Street, and turn left to reach the next point: the Church of the Holy Rude.


Point 2: Church of the Holy Rude


Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Church of the Holy Rude

If you wish, take some time to look around the church – look out for where the dividing wall once stood, and the spot where James VI was crowned. Then, make your way through the old graveyard behind the church. There is a raised viewpoint at the rear – head up to there.


Point 3: Kirkyard


Kirkyard, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Kirkyard view, facing the castle

Kirkyard, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Kirkyard view, overlooking Forth valley

From this viewpoint you can look over to the castle, down towards town, across the Forth valley.

The next point on the walk is the castle. Take the path that cuts through, and then to the rear of the new cemetery. You will reach some steps that bring you out onto the Castle Esplanade.


Point 4: Castle Esplanade and outer defences


Castle defences, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Castle Esplanade and outer defences

Stirling Castle is the town’s most famous landmark. But the face it presents to the town was not always the one you see now – these fortifications were built following an attempted Jacobite rising in 1708. Now, head back into town – go across the esplanade, and down onto Castle Wynd.


Point 5: Castle Wynd, Argyll’s Lodging and Mar’s Wark


Argyll's Lodging, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Argyll's Lodging

Mar's Wark, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

Mar's Wark

Now walk down out of Stirling’s Old Town. Head down Castle Wynd, past Mar’s Wark, past the church of the Holy Rude, and down St John Street. When you reach Spittal Street, turn right onto Corn Exchange Road – but before you do, take note of the yellow building opposite. This is Glengarry Lodge – where the town’s Episcopalians would have gathered to worship in secret.

Walk along Corn Exchange Road until you see a footpath called Back Walk – take the long sloping branch to the right. At the bottom, turn right again onto Greenwood Avenue, near the Smith Art Gallery. Walk past the gallery, down Victoria Road and turn right onto the main road, Albert Place. One block up, you reach a crossroads by the King’s Knot. Cross the road and then turn left onto Queens Road. This will take you to King’s Park, the final point on the walk.


Point 6: King’s Park


King's Park, Stirling Copyrighted image Credit: BBC

King's Park

Today a park and golf course, this is where the Duke of Argyll’s army camped in the run–up to the Battle of Sheriffmuir.


Interactive map

Here's a Google Map with the points marked. Click on the points for more information.

History of Scotland: Walk 7 - Stirling Castle

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Copyright The Open University


Copyright The Open University



Evan Davis
Accountants have become more rigorous in their job in recent years.  They're fed up of waking up and seeing companies that they audited, signed off the accounts, said were okay, going bust.  They're fed up too of being sued by cross investors who invested in those kinds of companies.  So they’ve taken their job more seriously, they apply the rules more rigorously, and everybody agrees that it’s harder to massage the books than it used to be, harder to use creativity in accounts as they say.  Now you may say that’s a very good thing, accountants write many more warnings into the accounts, they apply more caveat to the accounts they sign off, and you may say good, investors get more warnings about what the potential vulnerabilities of a business are.

Yes, but also no.  You see one cost to this kind of compliance, this kind of exercise is that if you write more warnings and more caveats into company accounts, it’s harder for the investor reading the accounts to know which ones to take seriously.  How does the reader of the accounts know to distinguish the box ticking or warning that’s simply there so the accountant doesn’t get sued for missing something from the real warning of a vulnerability that is truly going to affect the firm?

Now that is generally a cost that comes into excessive compliance, and attempt to cover backs rather than genuinely warn.  It comes up in health and safety and other areas as well.  But it makes one realise that although extra rigour in a job can be a good thing, it also has a downside: there has to be a balance that too many warnings don’t make extra safety. 

That’s my opinion; you can join the debate with the Open University.






Copyright The Open University


Copyright The Open University



Evan Davis
There’s a long and illustrious tradition of companies trying to massage the books, trying to make themselves look more profitable than they really are using creative accountancy.  And I want to make a point about this, that isn’t a point about accountancy at all, but is a point about human beings and their psychology.  And the problem is this, that human beings don’t like dissonance in their mind.  They don’t like to say one thing and believe another thing.  We just seem to be programmed that way.  And we’ll usually resolve it either by changing what we say or by changing what we think.  Now, if we go around publishing accounts that make our company look highly profitable, and if we don’t believe those figures that we’re publishing, we’ll either come round to stop publishing those accounts or, and this is the real danger, we’ll come round to believing the accounts ourselves, to believing our own propaganda.

Now in general that is the danger of creative accountancy, it doesn’t fool the rest of the world because you can publish flattered income figures in one year, but ultimately everyone’s going to find out the money wasn’t there.  Take Enron, they published creative accounts that made the company look much richer than it truly was, but it didn’t really do them any good in the long term at all when they went bust.  So, no, you don’t fool everybody else, but you do fool yourself.  The deception flips around and works on the deceiver rather than the people they were trying to deceive.  That is the danger of creative accounts: it misleads the management who engage in it. 

Well that’s my opinion; you can join the debate with the Open University.




Copyright The Open University


Copyright The Open University



Evan Davis
A great deal of effort goes into making offices nice places to work.  Professional minds go into designing the office, to providing artwork, to the interior decor, all those kinds of things to make an office a productive and happy environment.  Now there have been various fads you can observe in the history of office design.  We've gone from corridors with offices in, to well-lit open plan areas, to places with sofas, couches, to the funky offices with beanbags and table football, and maybe all of these are better or worse than the other.  But in truth what people really want in their office is a sign that somebody’s paying attention to them.

So it might well be that every time we have a new fad or a new trend in office design, everybody says it works simply because everybody’s very happy when the office looks as though attention’s been paid to it.  Which reminds me of course of those old things called hawthorn effects, which more or less come down to the observation that if you turn the light up a little bit, people work harder, if you turn the light up a bit more, they work harder, if you turn it up a little bit more, they carry on working harder, and then if you turn it down, they work a bit harder.  Every time you do something that changes the environment, that makes people feel you're paying attention to them, they respond by working harder.  Then the effect of course wears off until the next time you turn the light up or the light down, or until the next time you redecorate the office or engage in the latest fad for office design.

So we’ll always be discussing what works and what doesn’t work, but maybe what works is that we just keep discussing it and keep changing the paint. 

That’s my opinion; you can join the debate with the Open University.


Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Adam Hart Davis rhs Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University

In these six programmes Adam Hart-Davis, Janet Sumner and Maggie Aderin visit the spectacular places where the exploration of the universe is being pushed to new limits.

They include the world’s biggest experiment, the Californian observatory at the centre of the search for ET, and the biggest telescope in the world, high in Chile’s Atacama desert, seeing the most distant things in the universe.

The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide asks big questions about the universe: How was it made? Are we alone? What’s the furthest thing we can see? Is there another earth somewhere? Where is the most exciting place to explore?

In each programme, we take on one huge idea, and head for the place most likely to provide an answer.

To find out how far we can see, we visit the Very Large Telescope, high in Chile’s Atacama Desert. It is a barren and spectacular location, but the very best place in the world to see the universe.

To answer the question: Are we alone? Adam drove into the wilds of Northern California, to the Allen Telescope Array, the new nerve centre of the hunt for extra terrestrial intelligence. If humans are going to hear from ET, our first 24 hour a day, 7 day a week alien hunting machine is where the message is likely to arrive.

Maggie Aderin, Adam Hart-Davis and Janet Sumner - Cosmos presenters Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University

How do you build a universe? Join the 7,000 scientists trying to do just that, ramming tiny particles together at nearly the speed of light. Buried 100 metres under Geneva, this machine aims to create conditions not seen since the Big Bang, releasing particles that were present at the very start of the universe.

Does our planet have a twin - is there another Earth? The search for other worlds takes Adam to the peak of La Palma in the Canary Islands, to meet the team finding distant planets beyond the solar system. For now they can only find giant planets bigger than Jupiter – but how long will it be before they find another one like ours?

A trip to Leicester attempts to find out just how dangerous is the universe. There, an amazing new spacecraft will home in on the biggest bangs since the Big Bang, but also finds signs of violence much closer to home on the sun and the moon.

The final question, as ever, is what next? The programme is based at Europe’s space exploration HQ near Amsterdam, and investigates how astronauts will get to Mars – and how they’d survive once they got there – as well as finding out about Voyager, the first bit of man-made hardware to leave the Solar System, and new ways of getting into space without a rocket.

Adam Hart Davis Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University Adam Hart-Davis

Adam is an award-winning presenter of programmes as wide-ranging as Tomorrow’s World; What the Ancients Did For Us; Science Shack; Local Heroes; Stardate; and How London was Built.

A freelance photographer and writer with a regular column in the Radio Times, Adam has authored about 24 books, including: World’s Weirdest ‘True’ Ghost Stories; Thunder, Flush, & Thomas Crapper (an encyc-loo-pedia); Amazing Math Puzzles; and What the Ancients Did For Us. His latest books are Taking the Piss, and Just Another Day. He also wrote articles for the Oxford Companion to the Body on “Burp”, “Defecate”, and “Farting”.

Adam’s honours include: Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, Honorary Member of the British Toilet Association, Honorary Fellow of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, patron of a dozen charitable organizations, twelve honorary doctorates, the Horace Hockley Award from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, a Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Medal from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers, and the 1999 Gerald Frewer memorial trophy of the Council of Engineering Designers.

Janet Sumner Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University Janet Sumner

Adam and Janet have presented together on several programmes, including Science Shack and more recently Stardate: Mysteries of Venus.

Janet is a qualified geologist and vulcanologist, a broadcast executive and lecturer with the OU and also likes a bit of “space and time travel”.

She graduated in Geology from Sheffield University in 1987 and gained a PhD in Vulcanology from Kiel University in 1994. For the last 10 years she has been researching explosive volcanic eruptions on earth and on other planets in our solar system. She’s not afraid to get her hands wet, or her fingers burnt, in the process – you’ll usually find her scrambling about, on, or inside active volcanoes such as Stromboli or Etna, or even fire-walking on the lava flows of Hawaii.

The results of her research have appeared in many international scientific journals. Most of her work involves field research but it also takes in lab experiments and computational fluid dynamics (sometimes using buckets of golden syrup and even cream eggs!)

Her taste for adventure embraces several extreme sports (skydiving, paragliding, pot holing and scuba diving) but free climbing is her sport of choice as the abseiling is useful for getting down into volcanoes.

She has travelled widely and circumnavigated the globe twice, most recently on a German science and media ship, where she was crew member, scientific reporter and underwater camera and stills photographer.

Janet has also presented on BBC One Nature programmes, including the British Isles: A Natural History series with Alan Titchmarsh. In 2007 she will present on Alan's follow-up series Nature of Britain.

Maggie Aderin Copyrighted image Credit: The Open University Maggie Aderin

Dr Maggie Aderin teams up with Adam Hart-Davis and Janet Sumner for this series.

Maggie’s scientific career to date has involved making new, specially-designed measuring instruments for both industrial and academic use. These range in size from hand-held land mine detectors to a satellite sub-system to monitor wind speeds in the Earth’s atmosphere and so improve our knowledge of climate change.

Maggie currently works at Astrium Limited, in Portsmouth, where she manages a multi-disciplinary team making a sub-system for the James Webb Space Telescope, (a joint ESA/NASA venture due to replace the Hubble space telescope in 2013).

She enjoys making science more accessible to the public and has received a fellowship from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) to enable her to do more public engagement with science events through UCL.

She has also set up her own company, Science Innovation Ltd, which she runs in her spare time. Through her company Maggie conducts activities to help people engage with science, including “Tours of the Universe”, a scheme that engages school children and adults in the wonders of space. You can also watch Maggie talking about her early inspirations in The Z Files

First broadcast: Tuesday 7 Aug 2007 on BBC TWO

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