This used to be my playground

I always say I’m a new blogger but in reality back in the days of MySpace I occasionally wrote a little blog – more for myself and to tell my friends things than anything else. I was having a little nosey on there – not used it for long enough and realised my blog posts are still there so thought I would attempt to copy my first blog post across to here. So here goes.

This was originally written in 2007 and thank goodness my spelling and grammar has slightly improved since then. I had to make some minor changes 😀

If you read ma page you will know my name is Lesley. I’m 37 years old and I live in Stirling. I have lived there all my life and I feel very lucky to be able to have lived in such a wonderful area. As a child I was taken to visit all the sites in our local area. My Nana (granny) lived nearly next door to Stirling Castle, well down the hill from it, so during our summer holidays we virtually lived there. I loved visiting it, there was so much to see and do. There were a great many hiding places (especially in the kitchens) to hide and jump out and scare the tourists that came in. For those that have visited Stirling Castle recently, the castle kitchens never used to look like that, they have always been a very dark place – great for little kids with torture on their minds. I can remember falling about laughing when we did managed to scare someone. We used to hide in the dark spots and when someone came near we would jump and and scream at them. When I think about it now I probably would have had a heart attack if some wee brat (sorry child) had did it to me. LOL We also played at the ‘Pithy Mary’ which is a small pond just below the castle. I remember going down there with a jam jar trying to catch tadpoles. YES people it didn’t always look like that, the water used to be very clean and frogs did live and breed in it. God knows what has happened to it over the years but now it is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. Green sludgy water it doesn’t bear thinking about.

One of the other things I liked to do was wander about the graveyard beside the Holy Rude Church. This might sound morbid, but I was fascinated by the age of some of the graves in the graveyard and I still am. These areas were our playgrounds. What child could say that they had acres and acres of beautiful ‘mountains’ to play on. This was when the world was a ‘safer’ place. We wandered about the hills near the castle, we built dens (gang huts), we played in the cemetery (respectfully not touching the stones), we picked brambles, goosegogs (gooseberries), raspberries and anything else we could find that was edible (and we didn’t even wash them), LOL. The cannons on the Gownie (Gowanhill) were ours to play on and shoot whoever we wanted, the trees were ours to climb and make swings on, the sandybunk was ours to slide down (even if you got a red bum). For those who are interested the sandybunk is a strange thing. It is an area just down from Stirling Castle that comprises of an area of rocks embedded in the hill and covered with a red coloured ‘sand’. Seemingly this is a very rare feature in Scotland but to us it was another part of our playground. Unfortunately you  could never deny being there as your mum always knew you were lying (the red bum was a dead giveaway). Would show you a picture of it but can’t find any.

Some older kids had made a ‘Tarzan’ swing on one of the big trees that stuck out from the hillside near where I lived. When you swung on it you were about 20ft in the air, thinking back now it was very dangerous but we didn’t care. Many kids broke their arms/legs playing on this but did it stop us, well NO it didn’t. We didn’t care, we were kids , we were indestructible (or so we thought).

Well my playground is still there but no children play there so much anymore, it’s now used by the alcoholics, youngsters to drink on, drug addicts tend to use it too and the occasional homeless person has been know to make it there home. Its still beautiful to look at and I still visit it but my kids can’t have the same fun on it as I used to.

A view of Raploch from the Gownie – Gowanhill


The cannons on the Gownie

There have been some changes since I wrote this. The green pathway up to the cannons has been replaced by a proper pathway to make it more accessible. Funnily enough this is the hill I want to be able to walk up again. On the other side of the hill there is a huge flight of stairs that I remember being able to run up and I want by the end of the year to climb them again. So when I do it I will take some pictures and post them, so fingers crossed I survive the climb.


About inmylifeandbeyond

40 something Mum of 4 Self confessed WoW geek Avid Reader
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One Response to This used to be my playground

  1. Hi Lesley, I’m from the Top of the Town History Group and I have been researching the history of the Gowan Hill for the Mercat Cross Community Council. They are planning a heritage project on the hill which will include signs about the history and natural environment.

    We are having a Day of Action this Wednesday from 10 a.m. and you would be most welcome — I would enjoy hearing more of your memories of the Gownie!

    You can also visit our history project Facebook page:


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