The Forth packs more interesting historical and geographical attractions into its relatively short length than any other river in Britain. It rises on the eastern slopes of the mighty Ben Lomond, the most southerly of Scotland’s Munros. It then ambles through the beautiful Trossachs, an area of scenic lochs and forests nestling amid crumpled hills which was the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake. At Stirling the river enters the pages of British history: it was here that William Wallace’s army defeated England’s forces in 1297. Just seventeen years later, the decisive Battle of Bannockburn took place nearby, an event that helped earn Scotland its independence. The modern-day visitor centre brings the still-extant battle site to bloody life. Stirling Castle itself is the largest in Scotland and one of the country’s most historic. It guards what was for centuries the furthest downstream crossing of the river and was a vital nexus between highland and lowland, east and west.