Experience the mystery of Stirling’s bloody past with Caledonian Sleeper

Set to take place from 8 to 10 September, the Bloody Scotland festival will celebrate the best of Scottish crime fiction writing, with popular authors including Ian Rankin and Val McDermid leading the unique annual event. 

Steeped in heritage, Stirling will provide the perfect home for the festival and attending authors who are often inspired by the area’s famous landmarks such as Stirling Castle and nearby Bannockburn.

Celebrating the festival and Stirling’s unique history, Caledonian Sleeper has compiled a list of the city’s most captivating locations, stories and bloody past.

Murder in the Castle

Stirling Castle’s historical importance as a geographical stronghold has ensured that the 12th century building has witnessed many murders. 

One of the most notable was the murder of William VIII Earl of Douglas by his rival King James II. It’s said that the Earl was struck with a knife no less than 26 times and thrown from a castle window, before being buried in an unmarked grave in the castle gardens. 

This pivotal event will be recreated in Stirling Castle on 20 September where audience members will be invited to try and solve this centuries old murder using modern techniques including 3D body mapping, fingerprinting and DNA technology. 

Stirling Ghost Walk

A staple of the royal burgh’s Old Town for over two decades, the Stirling Ghost Walk is famous for its excitement, drama and fear factor. Participants are led by both professional and amateur actors through the streets, monuments and buildings of the Old Town and regaled with stories of gruesome deeds past.

The Green Lady of Stirling Castle is perhaps the city’s most famous ghoul so-called for the colour of her dress. The legend is that The Green Lady perished in a bedroom fire in the Castle after saving Mary Queen of Scots, from the blaze.

Experience the Battle of Bannockburn

Forming much of Scotland’s future, the Battle of Bannockburn saw the defending army of English King Edward II defeated by the smaller force led by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. 

Though very little physical evidence has survived since June 1314, visitors to the Battle of Bannockburn centre can take part in a 3D immersive experience and see the combat first-hand. Every visit to the centre ends with the audience either leading their own division of soldiers into an action-packed battle simulation, or watching the sights and sounds of the outcome.

Mary Queen of Scots’ Home  

Mary Stuart was crowned the Queen of Scots in the Chapel Royal in 1543, with most of her childhood spent here.

She resisted the forceful advances of Henry VIII’s son Prince Edward during the ‘Rough Wooing’ between Scotland and England, but was later forced to abdicate by Protestant noblemen in 1567.

Mary, the Catholic queen, would be beheaded after leaving Stirling Castle for England where she attempted to secure refuge from her cousin Queen Elizabeth.

Visitors can tour the various sections of the castle with the help of a guide to discover more of Mary Queen of Scots’ Stirling story

To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper or to make a reservation, visit sleeper.scot

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