Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s greatest stone castles – an icon integral to how we understand the nation’s story.
Walter Scott describes King James V (disguised as James Fitz-James) riding to Stirling Castle in 'The Lady of the Lake'.
The poem, with the horses careering from place to place, roots the action firmly in the local landscape, and celebrates Scotland to those reading the poem elsewhere.
Listen to 'Bulwark of the North'
Walter Scott’s verse, describing the ride of King James V (disguised as James Fitz-James) to Stirling Castle in 'The Lady of the Lake'.
Read 'Bulwark of the North'
Along thy banks, swift Teith! they ride,
And in the race they mock thy tide;
Torry and Lendrick now are past,
And Deanstown lies behind them cast;
They rise, the bannered towers of Doune,
They sink in distant woodland soon;
Blair-Drummond sees the hoofs strike fire,
They sweep like breeze through Ochtertyre;
They mark just glance and disappear
The lofty brow of ancient Kier;
They bathe their coursers’ sweltering sides,
Dark Forth! amid thy sluggish tides,
And on the opposing shore take ground,
With plash, with scramble, and with bound.
Right hand they leave thy cliffs, Craig-Forth!
And soon the bulwark of the North,
Gray Stirling, with her towers and town,
Upon their fleet career looked down.
Sir Walter Scott - Celebrating 250 Years
In 2021-22, Scotland celebrates the 250th anniversary of one of its most famous sons, Sir Walter Scott. This online exhibition and audio trail of his legacies is part of the celebrations.
'Bulwark of the North' has been performed for Pitlochry Festival Theatre, in partnership with HES, by actor Gordon Houston. Originally from Stranraer, Gordon is currently based in Edinburgh.