Castle and town
Eight thousand years ago, when the first prehistoric people ventured up the valley of the River Forth, the rocky crag where Stirling Castle now stands already dominated the flat, marshy carselands around it. Here, protected by sheer cliffs on three sides, was a safe, dry place to live.
Not surprisingly, people have been living on that same volcanic rocky outcrop ever since those early visitors first camped there. The castle's crag has become the very heart of Stirling - so much so that local folk are still known as 'Sons of the Rock'.
As time went by, this prominent rock became a stronghold for those who lived on its summit. The warrior Celts planted a hill fort there, for this was an area of bitter warfare between rival tribes, each seeking to control the hill which dominated the river valley and its shallow crossing points.
Roman soldiers stood on the same crag as they looked north to the hostile lands beyond. Standing like a rocky island between hills to the north and south, they could see how the castle rock controlled all movement along, or across, the marshy valley around it. Here was the strategic heart of Scotland.