Friday, August 24, 2012

He was hunted as a fugitive, sheltered by the MacDonalds to become Scotland's most famous King

A longer blog post than usual. People are interested in the story of the most famous King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. His family title was Robert V111 de Bruce. He hid out on with the West coast as a fugitive guarded by his friend Angus Og, the MacDonald Chief. He had a sad family life. We think he looked like this.

In 1307 the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce was in hiding, in the West Coast of Scotland the world's most glorious playground. He had a close band of followers, including the High Steward of Scotland and was being looked after by his friend Angus Og, chief of the MacDonalds.. A terrible fate awaited him if he was caught. He would have been taken to London to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He would have had a show trial, would have been scorned and abused by the London crowds. His sadistic rival Edward 1st of England would have him found guilty. This dreadful punishment was reserved only for the men most hated by Edward and Bruce was his leading opponent. He had already done this to David, Prince of Wales, for his so-called treason, and to the rebel Scots Knight, William Wallace, again for treason.

As they scrambled in MacDonald boats from island to island, from Rathlin to Islay, to Mull then probably to Tioram Castle on Ardnamurchan, hiding from Edward's fleet often in the open or in caves, the followers of the King formed a close bond of friendship. Bruce spoke Gaelic, which was a great asset in the Highlands. No one there spoke either English nor French.

Their triumph was to come in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots army faced overwhelming odds, yet emerged victorious. One year later, Robert the Bruce's daughter, Marjorie, married his friend Walter, the High Steward of Scotland. In triumph, Bruce gave Angus Og the lands of Duror and Glencoe, he gave the Campbells the castle of Inverlochy and the Oban area, and into Appin he put the Stewarts. The Appin land lay strategically between both of the clans probably in case of trouble between them.

Little did any of them know that the marriage would be the foundation of the magnificent line of Stewart Kings and Queens for 400 years. Their son became Robert 11, and their successors included Mary Queen of Scots, the executed Charles 1st, and the final Stewart monarch, Queen Anne. Their homelands in Appin were very important to the Stewarts. James IV often visited his cousin in Stalker Castle, Appin in the 15th century for hunting and fishing.

Bruce's family story was extremely sad. His wife died in childbirth at 19. While he was in revolt his 2nd wife, two sisters and his daughter were turned over to the English King. His brother was executed brutally. The women were imprisoned for years, two of them were put in cages for 4 years hung in public view. They were released after Bannockburn in exchange for hostages.

When she was released Marjorie married The High Steward. She had a child, David, who later became King. Then 2 years after Bannockburn she fell off a horse near Paisley and died. She was just 19, the same age as her mother.

The picture shows a forensic reconstruction of Robert the Bruce's features, as he might have looked just before his death at the age of 55 It was created by a forensic scientist using a cast made of a skull, unearthed during excavations at Dunfermline Abbey in 1818 and believed to have been that of the Scottish king.
It shows Bruce with a deep scar across his face and eye and ravaged by leprosy. It is known that Bruce suffered from dysentery and a skin illness, which may have been leprosy, though someauthorities dispute this.

HISTORY LINKS Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Glencoe Mountain Rescue team out twice

The Coire above the Hidden Valley. 
Thousands of people walk up the Hidden Valley each year. Known as Coire Gabhail it is the main target for folks with only a day or so to spare.
Equally thousands of people walk the West Highland Way each year, from just South of Loch Lomond up to Fort William.
Inevitably a few of them have problems. Two parties were found and helped by the Glencoe Rescue team in one weekend in July. 
A couple of Dutch walkers lost their way near the Kings House Hotel on Rannoch Moor around 11.00pm. They wouldn't be the first people to be lost and confused in that pub. They had to be found first before being taken to Glencoe village. A lady walking in the Hidden Valley tripped, twisted her ankle and had to be stretchered down the hill. 
Have you ever tried to carry someone on a stretcher? Going down a rough path on a steep hill? It is very hard work I can tell you.

The rescuers are all volunteers, unpaid. They are on stand by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is a call out somewhere, on average once a week. They depend mostly upon public support.

This is a website whereby you can buy stuff online and a percentage goes to the Glencoe  Rescue team so technically it does not cost a penny.  You can help the Teams finances without giving a donation through this site

The founder of the team is Hamish McInnes. See our other blog posting for news of him.

ps.November seems to be filling up in the cottage, but not October so much. Why is that?

The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips

Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
  • Short Breaks Glencoe
  • Stories about Appin villages blog