When wandering around this most beautiful part of the world, Glen Trool comes to mind not only for its beauty but also its historical content.
It is a wild and lonely place and the more so if you approach it from the village of Straiton along a winding road that runs under the fingers of the Range of the Awful Hand. You will eventually reach the village of Glen Trool where you turn left to Loch Trool, crossing the bridge over a torrent of white water to a car park.
You are now in the middle of the Galloway Forest Park and a walk along the path gives excellent views of the Loch below before you come to a memorial stone commemorating Bruce’s victory over the English in March 1307.
This was a well thought out manoeuvre by a bold man against a much superior force. Across the Loch is the Lamachan Hill, Gaelic for the ‘The Tawny Hill’ where Bruce placed his men having collected a considerable amount of large boulders.
The English army approached clambering over the rough ground on a narrow path between the loch and the hill and when they reached a certain position Bruce blew his horn three times whereupon his men rolled the large boulders down the hill destroying their enemy.
This battle was a resounding success for Bruce and initiated the long process leading to Bannockburn and ultimately independence for Scotland.
However the thought of Scotland once again becoming independent has been under consideration for some time now and if it comes to fruition I am quite sure that it will not be as bloody as these early encounters.
Instead of Robert the Bruce we have Nicola Sturgeon who I am sure has never swung a battle axe in anger but is quite strong and ruthless in her own way.
But back to Glen Trool, before the forestry commission took over sheep were the sole crop of these hills which included the Merrick, Southern Scotland’s highest peak, and it is recorded that an old shepherd once stated ‘Ony sauchle o’ a body can write a book, but it tak’s a man to herd the Merrick’.
It must have been a lonely job shepherding sheep in this harsh area and the shepherds must have been dedicated men.
It is now a tourist spot and many have climbed the Merrick and the Buchan Hill to great satisfaction. See you next week.