I started the Scottish Climbs series of posts with grand plans, but as it turns out I think I am going to have to scale back to something more parochial such as Stirling Climbs. I have this problem- instead of photographing the hill, I’d actually rather focus on riding up the damn thing. The first climb up to Stirling Castle I posted about takes you up the cobbles, while this second route takes in hairpins, a graveyard, and an ancient pub, and is both interesting and steep from both sides.
From the potholed Cowane Street, that heads out of the town centre, Upper Bridge Street climbs sharply straight up. The gradient shallows a little, and on the right is a white pub, the Settle Inn. It’s Stirling’s oldest alehouse, and has been serving since the 1700’s. The walls seem to be a metre thick, and you don’t get a mobile signal inside. After the pub it rises sharply again towards the castle. Here I’m standing up in the 39×25, wheezing smugly as the obese workman scoffs his lunch in his parked van. Keep going but save something for the hairpin. The bend snakes left and then doubles back right, with the castle rearing up in front of you. At the junction, go left to join the last section of Scottish Climbs: Stirling Castle (part 1) and continue up to the esplanade, or go right to descend down the back side of the castle hill. On the day in question I was in a hill repeats mood, and opted to go right and down the hill. Here the road is flat, and you pass an old graveyard on your right. The road bends sharply left and down towards the Back o’ Hill Road. Coming back up you have a brief view of the Wallace Monument, Sherriffmuir, and the Ochils in the distance before the trees close in and your lungs begin to burn again. I ‘enjoyed’ this route for hill repeats as it was about as traffic-free as you are likely to get, and it had a few nice views. There was nobody to give you abuse, only the odd bemused tourist.