The Bannock Burn of 1314 looked far more impressive than it does today. In 1314 the burn was deep and tidal, its banks either steep and gorge-like, or soft and muddy – a formidable obstacle for Edward’s army.
Heading for the Carse of Balquhiderock on the night of 23 June, Edward’s men tore down timber frameworks from nearby houses to create walkways over the boggy ground, and queued to ford the Burn with their war horses.
During the defeat of 24 June, the Burn was once again a severe obstacle for English troops as they tried to retreat in chaos from the advancing Scottish spearmen. Many were drowned or were killed as they attempted the crossing. Indeed, it was said that, by the end of the fighting, the Burn was so full of dead bodies that you could cross it without getting your feet wet.
It is still possible to walk alongside the gorge of the Bannock Burn as it crosses the Dryfield of Balquhiderock. Though the burn has been significantly tamed, in parts it is still easy to see why it created such an awkward obstacle for King Edward’s heavily armed force.