What does it mean to live in a place with a castle? I was born in Stirling, Scotland, and now, after a few years living in Edinburgh, I live in Stirling again.
The town of Stirling grew up around the castle and in my opinion it’s the loveliest castle in Scotland. I do like many other castles but for different reasons. There’s something of real beauty about this castle and the fact it’s not a ruin somehow gives it continuing power over the town and countryside around it. It has lovely gardens inside the castle walls and that’s one of its most unique features.
For me, this castle, which I see every day (unless I’m away on a trip), gives a sense of history, of roots, of durability, of strength and of constancy.
I BELONG here. I feel a sense of home that somehow stretches way back to long before I was born here.
For some people a castle is scary. They think of ghosts, or of soldiers, and, sure, there have been many soldiers in Stirling Castle over the centuries and there may well be ghosts (but I don’t know anyone whose ever seen one there!) Stirling Castle isn’t scary for me. I draw strength from it, power from it, a sense of reassuring calm from it.
If you look carefully you can see Wallace Monument behind the castle. It’s a powerful symbol of this area too but it doesn’t have the same impact as the castle for me.
I realise as I write this that our experience of our lived environments is complex, affected by both personal and collective histories. For every one of us a physical structure (like Stirling Castle for me) not only influences how we feel but we interact with it, imbuing it with our own views, our own perceptions, our own stories.
What physical structures influence you?