An evening at a great Scottish historic attraction – complete with haggis
Three exclusive evening tours have been arranged to celebrate Robert Burns’ links with Stirling and its castle.
They take place in August, around the anniversary of the poet’s visit to the castle in 1787 after which he wrote the “Stirling lines” lamenting the passing of the Royal Stewarts and deploring the castle’s state of disrepair.
Rather more recently Historic Scotland has carried out far-reaching refurbishments and is currently undertaking a £12 million project to return the royal palace to how it may have looked when first built in the mid-16th century.
However when Burns was there, the castle was a military garrison and some areas were in a run-down condition.
During his first stay he, and his travelling companion Willie Nicol, visited the castle on the evening of the 26th August 1787. The following evening he dined with local men – Dr David Doig, rector of Stirling Grammar School, Christopher Bell, a singing teacher and Lieutenant Forrester from Stirling Castle’s garrison.
It is possible that Burns may have breakfasted at the castle the morning after with Lieutenant Forrester.
Ross Blevins, the castle’s head steward who has prepared and will lead the tours, said: “Townsfolk took the poet to their heart and for years after this first visit the 27th of August was celebrated in Stirling with Burns’ suppers.
“We thought that in this Year of Homecoming, which celebrates the 250th anniversary of his birth, it was an ideal time to mark Burns’ links to Stirling, its castle and the surrounding countryside, and the manner with which this influenced his literary work."
“The three tours will be a chance to look back on his life, while enjoying the rare opportunity to savour the atmosphere of the castle in the evening, after the gates are normally closed.”
Visitors will be taken round many parts of the castle, including the outer defences, the Great Kitchen and the Great Hall.
A three-course meal in the castle’s Unicorn Café featuring haggis, neeps and tatties followed by shortbread, tea and coffee will round off each tour.
The events, which are entitled Robert Burns and Stirling Castle An Exclusive Homecoming Evening Tour, will be limited to 60 visitors each.
A preview tour is being held on the evening of 14, July from 6.30-9.30pm for which a small number of places have been reserved for the media.
Any members of the media who would like to join the tour should contact Nicola McCrae, Marketing Executive on 01786 431325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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