Battle site of Slioch (1307) *

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A few miles east of Huntly the ‘battle’ (skirmish) of Slioch was fought in December 1307. This battle (violent skirmish) is important in the sense that it was a turning point in the War of Independence. After having temporarily neutralized the power of the MacDougall´s and the Earl of Ross, Robert the Bruce finally faced John Comyn, Earl of Buchan.

By the time his small force (a mere 700 men) reached Inverurie, Bruce all of a sudden fell sick leaving his brother Edward in charge. This was a dangerous moment. The enemy was approaching and while their charismatic leader was being carried like a helpless invalid the small army wound its way through sleet and snow to Slioch. As the pursuers, after a long chase, closed in for the kill, the king rose from his ´bed´, donned his armour and personally led the counter charge. The sight of the king, who was a notable warrior, once again at the head of his troops (why does this remind me of El Cid?), so unnerved the enemy that they scattered in all directions. John Comyn, Sir David Brechin and Sir John Mowbray all of a sudden realizing they were alone left the field in haste. From that moment on the balance finally started to shift in the Bruce´s favour.

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