Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn Heritage Centre

This afternoon I visited the Heritage Centre near Stirling in central Scotland which commemorates the famous battle between the forces of Robert I (Scotland) and Edward II (England) which took places over June 23rd. and 24th., 1314.

Precise location of this famous battle is not known but is was in the region of the village of Bannockburn near Stirling. Details of the opposing forces are also not known but is believed that the Scots had about 6,000 men whilst the English had around 18,000. Despite superiority in numbers  the English were out-generalled and outmanoeuvred by the Scots resulting in a resounding victory for the latter which secured Scotland’s independence from England until merger of the two countries to form the United Kingdom in 1707.

Since the Norman conquest of England in 1066 the kings of England ran various campaigns and initiatives to make Scotland subservient to English over-lordship with mixed success. It is noteworthy that the two key battles occurred within a few miles of Stirling Castle because this was the ‘buckle in the belt’ of Scotland. To secure Scotland an invading army from England had to cross the plain in central Scotland which Stirling Castle dominates. In 1297 William Wallace (aka ‘Braveheart’ ) had a success against the English at nearby Stirling Bridge but this proved something of a Pyrrhic victory because Wallace was subsequently betrayed and executed in London.

For those with an interest in etymology, ‘burn’ is a Scots word for stream or small river whilst ‘bannock’ is derived from bannog which is thought to refer to the hilly area above the Carron valley which is drained by the burn. Bannockburn is a village whilst Bannock Burn is the stream after which the village is named.

The Bannock Burn (stream) can be seen today by walking about half a mile along the Glasgow Road from the Heritage Centre in a southerly direction.

At the time of the battle the local landscape would have been rough, wet and boggy, a far cry from the well-drained pastures and field systems evident in the images shown herein.

Bannockburn landscape looking west.

Bannockburn landscape looking west.

Bannock Burn (stream) at Whins of Milton.

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