Week 10 – Flying Solo begins now and Stirling adventure

I’m sitting here with a big smile on my face.  It has been the best day ever!!  But more about that in a paragraph or two.  (Sorry, this is going to be long.)

Saturday night was the baptism of Zhao Jie (Allison).  Another darling Chinese girl. These Chinese are so pure and ready for meaning in their life. From not even knowing about Christ to feeling like they have found home it is incredible to watch.  She was baptized by Elder Elton.

Elder Stoker
Elder Tullis
Normal Sister Donaldson meal – 3 vegis and 2 types of taters. Roasties and Smash.

Sunday turned out great with ward conference.  The organ was fine and the talks were great.  Especially our bishop who talked on tithing.  Everything he talks on comes right from his heart.  After church we headed over to the mission office to print out boarding passes for flights and got things ready for departures the next morning.  Then we had a great dinner with the 20 missionaries leaving that next day.  There are two in this group that I got to know well.  Elder Stoker is from London and has been so much fun to get to know.  He is a great story teller and is a convert of only 3 years himself.  He was number 2 in baptisms for the whole mission during the past two years.  He has a love of the gospel and the energy of heart to share with everyone he meets.  I am so excited for him to find out what he is going to do with himself now.  Elder Tullis is from Utah, Centerville I think and hopes to be a professional tennis player. He will be attending BYU and is a lot of fun.  I saw a lot of him the first few weeks I was here as he was one of the APs at the time.

Wednesday after work we were all exhausted after 20 departures on Monday/Tuesday and 9 supposed to be arrivals on Tuesday, turned to 7 due to a sickness and an injury at the Preston MTC. We decided to take Sister Gifford to Zizzis for dinner.  Yeah, my favorite.  I thought that would be our night out for the week but then Thursday rolled around and being Sister Dent’s last official night on her mission and Leadership Conference all wrapped up we headed out to …yep, Five Guys.

Elder Selander from Alpine, UT; Elder Peacock from London and Elder Gibb from Canada.

Finally it’s Saturday.  This day has been a long time coming as we really needed a day to just relax.  Sister Gifford is totally game to explore Scotland so I asked her how about Stirling Castle and she said yes.  We headed to Stirling and first stop was Battle of Bannockburn.

A little history – On June 23 & 24, 1314 the English only controlled two major fortresses in Scotland. One being the mighty Stirling Castle. England’s King Edward I was gone and his son King Edward II wasn’t as strong of a king.  But he came with his army of about 13,000 soldiers. Now Scotland’s Robert Bruce was prepared and had laid traps and other clever surprises for the English cavalry. Outnumbered 4 to 1 the Scottish had to be clever. After Sunday Mass, the Scots got in position for the advancing English army. As King Edward moved his disgruntled army toward the Scottish forces they crumbled under the well-planned Scottish army. This was a significant Scottish victory which greatly strengthened Robert Bruce’s position as king.

Robert the Bruce











After walking around the memorial at The Battle of Bannockburn we headed to the Stirling Castle.

This is by far the best place I’ve been so far in Scotland. We had the best tour guide.  Totally entertaining.  I wish I could put a video on here but I don’t think I can.  But here is a picture of him.

Our tour guide, Frank Shields

His pants are the Stirling Tartan.

Stirling Castle is the grandest of Scotland’s castles. Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood in this castle and her coronation took place in the Chapel Royal on the grounds of the castle in 1543.

You could spend several hours easily at this castle.  We were there for a couple and I’m sure we didn’t see everything there was to see. Here are some pictures from our visit to the castle.


King’s Knot
Columns by the chapel door

Right next to the castle is The Church of the Holy Rude.  It has an amazing cemetery around it. Next time I go here I want to walk through the cemetery. We didn’t make it over to the church as the storm clouds were moving in fast.

For lunch we found a great little place over by the shoppes called Friar’s Wynd. I had a cheddar and red onion toastie with oven chips.

Next we drove over to a quiet little village named Doune.  There we came across Doune Castle built by Robert Duke, the Regent Albany, or Scotlands uncrowned king.  It was later owned by James Stewart who is Mary Queen of Scots half brother.  Turns out this castle is where parts of Monte Python and the Holy Grail were filmed.  If you have seen the Holy Grail this is the castle where the knights are taunted by the French guard.  I would have been so disappointed if I had figured that out later and had missed it.  Also for you Outlander fans this castle has been used often both inside and out as the Castle Leoch.  And finally in the pilot of Game of Thrones this is Winterfell.

The castle sits up on a slope all by itself.  It is small in size but still intact.

We found a cute little cafe in Doune called Buttercup Cafe and stopped in for a treat.  I had a Rolo Pie which was excellent.  I couldn’t eat the whole thing so I have a treat for later too.

Then on our way back we pulled off at a memorial area.  This was for a man named David Stirling who was the founder of the Special Air Services in 1941. I don’t really know any more than that but I loved the statue.  Also, the scenery around it.

Then last, but not least is the Wallace Monument.  This is one of the most distinctive landmark’s. It overlooks the scene of the victory battle at Stirling Bridge.  By the time we got to the monument it was raining and it was closing in 30 minutes so we decided we wouldn’t have time to really enjoy it as you have to hike up to it.  We have decided another trip to Stirling will for sure be in our plans again.

3 thoughts on “Week 10 – Flying Solo begins now and Stirling adventure

  1. What a fun trip! Enjoyed the bit of history and you would make a good tour guide yourself. The food sounds good as well.

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