Because of some family history and connections, I needed to get to the William Wallace Monument, which is located a short and pleasant walk from where the UK Knit Camp was held in Stirling, Scotland. I finally had a moment between two classes on my final day in Stirling and I hiked over there. The monument sits on top of a volcanic plug. I did take the shuttle bus from the valley to its base, because I wanted to have some hope of climbing to the top. I did make the climb (246 steps), mostly by not setting it as a task but simply deciding at each of the three levels whether to attempt the next flight of steps. The steps are about a foot wide, sharply angled, inside such a tight spiral that falling on them wouldn't be an issue—despite the height overall, there's no room to fall anywhere other than onto the step or two below where you are—but there is also no way to descend other than the way you came up. Passing others is, well, a huge challenge. Mostly you listen for other people and try to time your passage so as not to encounter anyone else.
The architect did a fine job of spacing the risers and treads, and the climb up and the return journey were breath-sapping but much easier than I expected.
The monument is so large you can see it from very far away, and from many directions.
Here's a closer view:
Statues and busts of Scottish heroes and inventors and artists are outside and inside. This is a statue honoring Wallace:
The spiral staircase is inside one corner of the monument. On the way up, there are three great halls with exhibits. They end up being places to catch your breath and decide whether to attempt the next set of steps. Here's what the staircase looks like from outside:
And here's one of the views from the top: