1 Stirling Castle
Stirling is one of Scotland’s greatest stone castles. Bruce would have been present at the siege of 1304, as an ally of Edward I. Stirling Castle was also besieged by Bruce’s forces in May 1314 which led to the Battle of Bannockburn, a turning point in the Wars of Independence and in the fortunes of Bruce and his foe Edward II of England. The face of the statue at Bannockburn battlefield was modelled on the skull found at Dunfermline.
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2 Kilchurn Castle
From a galley on Loch Awe, close to where the castle stands today, John MacDougall of Lorne watched his army routed by Bruce’s forces in the Battle of the Pass of Brander in 1308. The Campbells who had supported Bruce were rewarded with lands around Loch Awe, replacing MacDougall as Argyll’s dominant family. The castle that stands now came later.
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3 Iona Abbey
Take the foot ferry to Iona and step off onto one of Scotland’s most sacred sites. Angus Og MacDonald, a follower of Bruce, is buried here.
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4 Cambuskenneth Abbey
During the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the disaffected Earl of Atholl led his men against the troops guarding the Scottish supply depot. Shortly after the battle, Bruce held a parliament at Cambuskenneth at which those Scots who had opposed him were stripped of their titles and estates; and he compelled landowners to choose between Scottish and English estates. Before this, many held lands on both sides of the Border, leading to divided loyalties. In 1326, another Cambuskenneth parliament agreed the royal line of succession to follow Robert, via his daughter Marjorie, which ultimately put the Stewart dynasty on the throne in 1371.
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5 Dunstaffnage Castle
Dunstaffnage was the seat of the MacDougalls of Argyll. They sided with the Balliols during and after the Great Cause of 1290–1, which led to John Balliol being selected over Robert Bruce (Robert the Bruce’s grandfather) as king. After seizing the throne in 1306, Bruce moved ruthlessly to eliminate his rivals and enemies. After wiping out the Comyns, largely in the north-east, he besieged Dunstaffnage in August 1308. After trapping MacDougall’s forces at the Pass of Brander, Bruce pursued them to Dunstaffnage, which he besieged. Despite MacDougall’s appeal to Edward II for assistance, the castle soon fell to Bruce.
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