Form 5 Trip to the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn
Tuesday 30th May 2017
This Tuesday past, Form 5 embarked on the long march north to visit the National Wallace Monument and the Bannockburn as a supplement to their Lent and summer term history course – the Scottish Wars of Independence!
We were joined by the noble Mrs Runicman, the honourable Mrs Harvey and his Excellency, Mr Mateos, who we believed deserved a good look at some key Scottish History.
The bus journey was smooth, with little traffic, and we arrived at the Wallace monument in good time, 11am sharp. Upon arrival, we scaled the Abbey Craig, where Wallace deployed his men before the Battle of Stirling Bridge, and observed the landscape. Following the hike, we climbed the tower, by means of a narrow, spiral staircase up the side of the tower. There were three rooms to visit; our favourites were the Hall of Arms, within which Form 5 could look at some of the arms and weapons used in the early 13th century, and the Hall of Heroes where we could view Wallace’s claymore and the busts of some of Scotland’s greatest men and women.
When we reached the top of the 67-meter tower, we were rewarded with a stunning all around view of the local lands, from the meandering river Forth and its flood plain, to the Igneous Ochil Hills to the east, formed approximately 359 million years ago in the Silurian period, mainly composed of volcanic Tuff. (There is always scope for some top geography.)
Following this, we descended to the buses where we received two compliments in the space of one minute, due to the outstanding manners of the Form, which left us all very proud, and opened up the way to lunch!
We drove to Bannockburn where we feasted, and began our tour promptly at 1pm. We began with a bit of background in the classroom, where From 5 displayed their knowledge and love for History through asking and answering questions posed by our tour leader. Following this, we went on to the virtual 3D tour, where we discovered more about Edward the second and his wife, and the complex political stage at the time of the Scottish Was of Independence.
After this we were immersed in the battle itself, where we looked at the different types of soldiers involved, such as the English Heavy Cavalry, Scottish Pike men, English bowmen and some of the main nobles of the engagement. The room itself is lined, floor to ceiling with 3D screens from which, you are caught in-between cavalry charges, arrow volleys and the advance of the Scottish Schiltrons. The whole experience adds such a wonderful dimension onto the classroom learning. Form 5 were able to touch and hold the weapons that would have been used, in particular the Scottish Pike, which is far larger than you would think!
Finally, we fought the battle ourselves, in the battle room. Form 5 were split into the Scots and English, and battle commenced! The Scots began well and through the very sound placing of traps, managing to slay many English soldiers! Two fronts opened up to the East and West of Stirling Castle where there was much fighting to be seen.
The closing minutes saw the Queen of Scots engage the Queen of England in brutal melee, however, this left the Scots facing away from the dreaded English longbows, and Commander 10 slew the queen of Scots, winning the battle for the English. History was re-written in the Battle of Form 5!
Upon finishing the Bannockburn experience, we grabbed some items from the gift shop and made our way to the Bannockburn monument and the statue of Robert Bruce, where we got a final class photo, before heading back home to the Borders.
It was a wonderful day, and all the children of Form 5 were a credit to themselves and the School, it was an utter pleasure to be part of such a smooth and fun trip, thank you. Also, a huge thanks to Sarah and the kitchen team for making such a super lunch, and all the staff who guided us round the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn experience. Finally, big thanks to Mrs Harvey, Mrs Runciman and Mr Mateos for all their help and great company.
Mr J Brown
Photographs below from Mrs Harvey