OR...what we did in Stirling in September, 1997
This may take a while...there are a lot of pictures.
In September, Neil and I went to Stirling for the Braveheart Convention. I know that sounds a bit odd, like going to a Star Trek convention or something, but that's not the only reason we went. Having the convention was planned by John and Linda Anderson to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Battle at Stirling Bridge. (For those of you who are scratching your heads, this was when William Wallace won the battle against the English.)
Also, on the same weekend, was the vote for Scottish devolution! It was great to be there when that happened.
So....we stayed at the Stirling Highland Hotel, where we spent part of our Honeymoon the year before. It's up on the hill, on the way to Stirling Castle. From the hotel you can see the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn, if you know where to look.
We got to meet some of the cast of the film. More of them were supposed to show up but they had their good reasons for not being there.
We did, however, get to meet four of the actors. The first one I spotted was Julie Austin, who played the bride that was taken away from her husband on their wedding night by the English. She was very nice and fun to be with.
Next I saw a face I could never forget. It was young Murron, the one who handed young William the thistle at his father and brother's funeral. Although a bit taller and older, she still has a sweet smile and personality as well.
Young Murron, Mhairi Calvey
Soon I saw a face that I thought was familiar. I kept looking, then realised it was the guy who played William's brother. Sandy was there the whole time and had his band there and played for everyone. He is a very nice guy and a great singer.
Next was Andrew Weir who played young Hamish. He was very friendly and we got to talk to him a lot. He plans to continue acting, and I think he will probably be very good.
Although I didn't recongnise him right away, young William was there Saturday. He had grown an incredible amount and I had to really look at him to make sure it was him. But a quick smile and I was sure. His name is James Robinson and he and Andrew hung out together a lot.
Here's a couple of pictures so you can see the transformation that has taken place since the film was made.
William and Hamish in in Braveheart
James and Andrew in 1997.
Here is young William Wallace all grown up.
Some went up to Stirling Castle Saturday. Och! Uphill! Besides, if I recall, we just didn't want to get up that early, and we had already "been there...done that."
Here's a good one of Andrew, Julie and James
.....Later that evening.......
There was a "medieval feast" which was nothing like I had expected, but funny to see everyone running around in very bright, very scary fabrics that were not to be found in medieval times. Now that I think about it, there was really nothing medieval about it.
James and Sandy being "medieval"
During the weekend, we got to meet and listen to the man who wrote Braveheart, Randall Wallace. There were also a couple of historians, Seoras Wallace and Glen Telfer that were very interesting.
Let us not forget the lovely men who showed up in Braveheart kit. I was happy to find out that a few of them dress like that all the time.
We all took a couple of coaches up the the Wallace Monument on a rainy, windy day.
Some braved the hill, some took the van that goes up the hill. I stayed and took pictures and talked to some people from Oregon, where I come from. There is a statue there, near the parking lot that is a combination of William Wallace and Mel Gibson. At first glance, it isn't very pleasing to the eye, but when you read the plaque in front, it makes more sense. It seems the man who sculpted it had been having some major heart surgeries and didn't feel like he had much going on for him anymore. Braveheart seemed to touch him, and he decided to make this statue which he has loaned to the Monument. I don't have a good picture of it, but you can see part of it in this picture of Andrew, Julie and Mhairi.
We all had meals together and it was a good chance to mingle with people. Sunday at dinner, James and Andrew sat with us and a few others. It was great talking to them. I asked James how they got him to cry when young Murron handed him the thistle. He went on to tell me this elaborate process they go through to get a tear or two out of an actor! James and Andrew were very polite and very funny.
After that, we all went up to the parking lot of Stirling Castle where a local group of young actors put on an incredible, short recreation of the Battle at Stirling Bridge. It was very stirring, and brought tears to many eyes. I wish I had some pictures of that. It was very well done.
That night we all went to the University of Stirling to see the film Braveheart. It was great to see the film with some of the cast. We had told the boys earlier about a mistake that was made in one of the final scenes. Afterward, we talked some more and said good bye to them because everyone was leaving in the morning.
After the movie
We had a great time. We met a lot of nice people. John and Linda Anderson are already making plans for the convention next year. I don't know if we'll attend, but you never know.
Thanks to John and Linda for some of these pictures. See their webpage here.