OS grid reference NS795935
Council Area: Stirling
Lieutenancy area: Stirling and Falkirk
Sovereign state: United Kingdom
Post town: STIRLING
Postcode district: FK7-FK9
Dialling code: 01786
EU Parliament: Scotland
UK Parliament: Stirling
Scottish Parliament: Stirling
Stirling (Scots: Stirlin; Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea) is the largest city in Central Scotland. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town. Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area. The city is located at the mouth of the River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the "Gateway to the Highlands", with its position near the Highland Boundary Fault between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, indeed, it has been described as the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together. Its historical position as the nearest crossing of the Forth to the river mouth meant that many of its visitors were in fact invaders.
Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) within the Castle that rivalled any building in Europe at the time. Stirling also has its medieval parish church, The Church of the Holy Rude, where King James VI was crowned King of Scots on 29 July 1567. The Holy Rude still functions as a church with a service every Sunday. <ref>http://www.holyrude.org/history.htm (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>
Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and industry. The population of the city in 2013 was 91, 260.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref> The City's population has risen overall since 1987 and has a greater proportion of both young and elderly residents than the national average.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref> The majority of the population is located in its southeast corner, in the City of Stirling and in the surrounding area.
One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David I in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the county of Stirlingshire was absorbed into the Central Region. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.
The origin of the name Stirling is uncertain, but folk etymology suggests that it originates in either a Scots or Gaelic term meaning the place of battle, struggle or strife.<ref> http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/stirling.htm (accessed 24th July 2014)</ref> Medieval spellings of the placename included Strewelyn; Wyntoun, Strevelyn, Strivelyne, and Stryvelyne; Bellenden, Strivelyne, also Striveline, Striveling, Strevelyne, and Strevelyng. In 1811 Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire gave a version of the name as Strigh-lagh, meaning ‘strife of the archery.<ref> http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/stirling.htm (accessed 24th July 2014)</ref>
Other sources suggest that it originates in a Brythonic name meaning "dwelling place of Melyn".<ref> Iain Taylor. "Place names" (Pdf) Accessed 15th July 2014</ref> In modern Gaelic it is 'Sruighlea'.<ref>http://www.gaelicplacenames.org/databasedetails.php?id=98 (accessed 24th July 2014)</ref>
Stirling was originally a Stone Age settlement as shown by the Randolphfield standing stones and Kings Park prehistoric carvings that can still be found south of the town.<ref> Randolphfield, Stirling, Stirlingshire " The Northern Antiquarian". Megalithix.wordpress.com. 8 March 2010.</ref> Evidence of Neolithic settlement has been found at locations such as the Abbey Craig and Keir.<ref>Craig Mair, Stirling, The Royal Burgh (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1990) 5</ref>
The city has been strategically significant since at least the Roman occupation of Britain, due to its naturally defensible crag and tail hill (latterly the site of Stirling Castle), and its commanding position at the foot of the Ochil Hills on the border between the Lowlands and Highlands, at the lowest crossing point of the River Forth. It remained the river's lowest crossing until the construction of the Kincardine Bridge further downstream in the 1930s.<ref> http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/kincardine/kincardine</ref><ref>Craig Mair, Stirling, The Royal Burgh (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1990) 14</ref>
A ford, and later bridge, of the River Forth at Stirling brought wealth and strategic influence, as did its port. The town was chartered as a royal burgh by King David I -probably in 1124 and no later than 1127.<ref>Craig Mair, Stirling, The Royal Burgh (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1990) 14</ref> Major battles during the Wars of Scottish Independence took place at the Stirling Bridge in 1297 and at the nearby village of Bannockburn in 1314 involving William Wallace and Robert the Bruce respectively. There were also several Sieges of Stirling Castle in the conflict, notably in 1304. Sir Robert Felton, governor of Scarborough Castle in 1311, was slain at Stirling in 1314.
Standing near the castle, the Church of the Holy Rude is one of the town's most historically important buildings. Founded in 1129 it is the second oldest building in the city after Stirling castle. It was rebuilt in the 15th century after Stirling suffered a catastrophic fire in 1405, and is reputed to be the only surviving church in the United Kingdom apart from Westminster Abbey to have held a coronation. On 29 July 1567 the infant son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned James VI of Scotland here.<ref>http://holyrude.org/history.htm (accessed 15th July 2104)</ref>Musket shot marks that may come from Cromwell's troops during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms are clearly visible on the tower and apse.<ref>http://holyrude.org/history.htm (accessed 15th July 2104)</ref>Another important historical religious site in the area is the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, the resting place of King James III of Scotland and his queen, Margaret of Denmark. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Battle of Stirling also took place in the centre of Stirling on 12 September 1648.
The fortifications continued to play a strategic military role during the 18th century Jacobite Risings. In 1715, the Earl of Mar failed to take control of the castle. On 8 January 1746 19 January 1746 the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie seized control of the town but failed to take the Castle. On their consequent retreat northwards, they blew up the church of St. Ninians where they had been storing munitions; only the tower survived and can be seen to this day.<ref>Ross, David R. (2001). On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Dundurn Press Ltd. 79</ref>Economically, the city's port supported overseas trade, including tea trade with India and timber trade with the Baltic. The coming of the railways in 1848 started the decline of the river trade, not least because a railway bridge downstream restricted access for shipping. By the mid 20th century the port had ceased to operate.
Notable historical buildings in the City include Mar's Wark (1569)<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townfirst538.html</ref> Argyll's Lodging (1630)<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townfirst538.html</ref>and the Old Town Jail.<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/towns/townfirst538.html</ref>
Stirling is renowned as the Gateway to the Highlands and is generally regarded as occupying a strategic position at the point where the flatter, largely undulating Scottish Lowlands meet the rugged slopes of the Highlands along the Highland Boundary Fault.<ref>Miers, Richenda (2006). Scotland. The Globe Pequot Press. 271. Retrieved 30 January 2011</ref>The starkness of this contrast is evidenced by the many hills and mountains of the lower Highlands such as Ben Vorlich and Ben Ledi which can be seen to the northwest of the city. On the other hand, the Carse of Stirling, stretching to the west and east of the city, is one of the flattest and most agriculturally productive expanses of land in the whole of Scotland.
The land surrounding Stirling has been most affected by glacial erosion and deposition. The city itself has grown up around its castle which stands atop an ancient quartz-dolerite sill, a major defensive position which was at the lowest crossing point on the River Forth. Stirling stands on the Forth at the point where the river widens and becomes tidal. To the east of the city the Ochil Hills dominate the skyline with the highest peak in the range being Ben Cleuch, although Dumyat is more noticeable from Stirling. The Ochils meet the flat carse (floodplain) of the River Forth to the east of the distinctive geographical feature of Abbey Craig, a crag and tail hill upon which stands the 220 ft (67m) high Wallace National Monument.<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst10406.html</ref>
The climate of Stirling differs little from that of much of the rest of central Scotland. The warm Gulf Stream air current from the Atlantic Ocean is the predominant influence, with a prevailing southwesterly wind. That said, the areas round Stirling Town Centre encounter significantly less snow in Winter than many of its very close neighbours such as Denny and Dunblane. Although this could be said as being anecdotal, it is likely to be because it is at a lower level and could be said to have its own microclimate.
Areas of Stirling
The Old Town, also known as Top of the Town, consists of Broad Street, Castle Wynd, Ballengeich Pass, Lower Castle Hill Road, Baker Street (formerly Baxters St) and St Mary's Wynd. It is the key tourist area and the location of historic buildings such as Mar's Wark.
- Abbey Craig
- Allan Park
- Corn Exchange
- Craig Leith
- Gillies Hill
- Gowan Hill
- King's Park
- Mercat Cross
- Spittal Hill
- St. Ninians
- Whins of Milton
In 2013 the population of Stirling was 91,260.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref> By 2037 the population of Stirling is projected to be 105,860, an increase of 8.8 percent.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>20% of the population are aged 16-29 years, higher than the national figure of 18.3%.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>Between 2011 and 2012 there was a decrease in births in Stirling by 1.4% in line with a national decrease of 1.0%.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>The most popular boys name in Stirling in 2013 was Logan and the most popular girl's name Lucy.<ref>http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/council-area-data-sheets/stirling-factsheet.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>
At the centre of a large rural agricultural hinterland that encompasses some of the flattest and most productive land in Scotland, Stirling historically functioned as a market town, symbolised by its Mercat cross. There was a large agricultural market. Today, agriculture still plays a part in the economic life of the City, given its focus at the heart of a large rural area, but to a much lesser extent than previously.
With Stirling's development as a market town and its location as the focus of transport and communications in the region, it has developed a substantial retail sector serving a wide range of surrounding communities as well as the city itself. Primarily centred on the city centre, there are a large number of chain stores, as well as the Thistles shopping centre. However this has been augmented by out-of-town developments such as the Springkerse Retail Park on the city bypass to the east of Stirling, and the development of a large Sainsbury's in the Raploch area. There were 3435 businesses active in the Stirling Council Area in 2009.<ref>http://www.stirling.gov.uk/__documents/economic-development/business-intelligence/economy,-planning-_and_-regulation/economic-support/economy-pdfs/business-basejune11.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref> Key private sector employers include Sainsbury's Supermarket Group, Barbour European and Falcon Foodservice Equipment.<ref>http://www.stirling.gov.uk/__documents/economic-development/business-intelligence/economy,-planning-_and_-regulation/economic-support/economy-pdfs/business-basejune11.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>Key public sector employers include Central Scotland Assessors, Forth Valley NHS and the Scottish Institute of Sport. <ref>http://www.stirling.gov.uk/__documents/economic-development/business-intelligence/economy,-planning-_and_-regulation/economic-support/economy-pdfs/business-basejune11.pdf (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>
The University of Stirling and Stirling Council are two of the biggest employers in the area. Knowledge related industries, research and development as well as life sciences have clustered around the university in the Stirling University Innovation Park, close to its main campus.
A major new regeneration project on the site of the former port area and the 40-acre (160,000 m2) former Ministry of Defence site, adjacent to Stirling Railway Station. Known as Forthside, it has the aim of developing a new waterfront district linked to the railway station via a new pedestrian bridge. The development comprises retail, residential and commercial elements, including a conference centre, hotel and Vue multiplex cinema, that will ultimately expand the city centre area, linking it to the River Forth, which has been cut off from the city centre area since the construction of the A9 bypass under the railway station in the 1960s.<ref>http://www.instirling.com/initve/intve.htm (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>For the first time in 100 years, local people will have access to the banks of the River Forth in the city centre with landscaped public areas, footpaths, cycleways and an improved public transport network.
Public transport to districts within the city and to the surrounding towns, like Bridge of Allan and Alloa, is almost completely provided by buses operated principally by the First Group, although there are also railway links to Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, and, since 2008, Alloa. At the heart of Scotland's Central Belt, Stirling has direct road connections to the major cities of Glasgow, via the M80 motorway, and Edinburgh, via the M9 motorway, as well as inter-city rail links from Stirling Railway Station. Transport infrastructure in the area has been further improved with the completion of the Upper Forth Crossing and the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link, and there is an on-going (2010) upgrade of the A80 Trunk road to Motorway standards. The City of Stirling is home to a large number of commuters, with 12,000 residents commuting to work in other areas, with 13,800 workers also travelling into the city.<ref> Stirling Council, Property and the economy Keeping an eye on your business</ref>
The University of Stirling opened in 1967 on a greenfield site outside the town. Currently there are 11,544 students studying at the university, of which 8,443 are undergraduates and 3101 are postgraduates. There are 80 nationalities represented on the university campus, with 19% of students coming from overseas. It has grown into a major research centre, with a large science park – Innovation Park, located immediately adjacent to the main university campus. Innovation Park has grown since its initiation in 1993, and is now home to 40 companies engaging in various forms of research and development.