Events mark 700th anniversary of Battle of Bannockburn

Image caption,
Children laid a wreath at the site of the 1314 battle to mark the anniversary

Events are being held to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

The 1314 battle, fought on 23 and 24 June, saw Robert the Bruce defeat the forces of Edward II.

Events including a wreath-laying, an exhibition and guided walks around the battlefield, will lead up to a full-scale re-enactment of the conflict at Bannockburn Live at the weekend.

Clans are to travel from across Scotland and the UK to mark the event.

The battle in 1314 formed a key moment in the Scottish wars of independence, when Edward II marched north in a bid to lift a siege of Stirling Castle.

Despite being heavily outnumbered, Robert's forces triumphed in the two-day battle and forced Edward's armies to retreat with heavy losses.

The victory sealed Scotland's political independence and confirmed Robert's kingship, although it would take another 14 years of fighting and negotiation before the English throne recognised Robert as the rightful king of an independent Scotland.

Image caption,
The children represented the shared heritage of those from across the UK who fought at Bannockburn

In one of the first events to mark the anniversary, a group of children laid a wreath at the restored Rotunda at the site of the battle.

The children, representing Stirling, the Highlands and Isles, Turnberry, Yorkshire and Wales, share the heritage of those from across the UK who formed the armies at Bannockburn.

Led by a local young drummer, they walked from the new Bannockburn Visitor Centre to the Borestone marker, where Robert the Bruce is said to have planted his standard the night before the battle.

'Brutally realistic'

A genealogy exhibition in partnership with the University of Strathclyde and a fine art exhibition by Iona Leishman is also running through the day at the new visitor centre, which was built as part of a £9m project by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.

The biggest celebration of the battle's anniversary takes places over the weekend at Bannockburn Live, a two-day festival featuring musicians, artists and comedians as well as historic displays and re-enactments.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The historic battle will be re-enacted three times a day at Bannockburn Live

More than 300 warriors and camp followers will recreate the battle three times a day, in a "brutally realistic" display choreographed by Clanranald, who have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, Robin Hood and Thor 2.

Visitors will be able to explore a war camp complete with a kitchen, blacksmith and a hospital, as well as see weaponry including 12ft spears used to fend off cavalry charges up-close.

The anniversary is also being marked in Glasgow, where the Hunterian Museum is presenting the first complete digital 3D model of the long-lost tomb of Robert the Bruce, reuniting fragments from the tomb for the first time since their discovery 200 years ago.

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