Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mote Hill, Stirling

Mote Hill\Gowanhill

Mote Hill occupies a small plateau to the North East of Stirling Castle, just below Gowanhill. The site is thought to contain the remains of a small hill fort. The fort is easily accessible by following the walk that circumnavigates the castle's walls. Where the path meets Ballengeich Pass, cross over the road and carry on walking North East about a mile and a half. The walk comes out on the top of Gowanhill, and from here it is only a short distance to the top of Mote Hill.

Above. A view of Mote Hill from the Wallace Monument.

At the top of Mote Hill, you will find the Beheading Stone and two cannon looking out over Stirling Bridge. There are great views out over Stirling and its castle from here.

Above. A view from the interior of the fort.

The interior of the fort would have measured around ninety by sixty feet, and would have had a stone wall protecting its boundary. There are now only a few places where any sort of bank can now be seen here. A report dating from 1794 stated that a rubble wall was still visible....whether the stone has been robbed for use elsewhere, I don't know....but the summit is now fairly featureless.

Above. A view from just beneath the summit of Mote Hill.

The fort has been known as Hurley Haaky and Murdoch's Knowe in the past. It is thought that there may have been a second wall or bank defending the summit of the hill, laying some twenty five feet outside the first defences. There are still faint remains in this area, of what could be this earthwork, measuring some eight feet across.

In January 1746, Gowan Hill and Mote Hill were used as artillery batteries by Prince Charles Stuart's forces. The retreating Jacobite army attempted to take Stirling Castle from the English garrison occupying it at the time. It didn't take the Castle's guns long to destroy the batteries and force the Jacobite army to abandon any hopes of taking the castle.

Above. The 15th century Beheading Stone.

The Beheading Stone can be found at the summit of Mote Hill. Traditionally we are led to believe that this stone was used for beheading those convicted of capital crimes. Some noteworthy individuals thought to have been executed on this stone during the 15th century, were Murdoch, the Duke of Albany and former regent of Scotland in 1425, two of his sons and the Earl of Lennox.

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