£250k bail out for Battle of Bannockburn event

The wording on a memorial at  the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. Picture: PA
The wording on a memorial at the site of the Battle of Bannockburn. Picture: PA
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A £250,000 injection of public money has rescued a massive celebration being held to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

And a second major gathering could also be held at the Queen Mother’s ancestral home in Scotland, it has emerged.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland. Picture: Julie Bull

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland. Picture: Julie Bull

The National Trust for Scotland has given the go-ahead for three days of festivities at its battlefield site weeks after warning the Scottish Parliament about concerns over how to pay for it.

Grants from Creative Scotland, EventScotland and Scotland Food and Drink will help meet the cost of staging the £400,000 event, on 28 to 30 June, which will be one of the centrepiece events of the Year of Homecoming.

It will involve a huge battle re-enactment, food and drink showcases, live music and theatre, as well as an extensive clan village.

It emerged earlier this month that plans for the event had been thrown into doubt amid fears over who would be taking the financial risk if ticket sales do not match expectations. However, full details of the event – and financial support to the tune of £250,000 for NTS – will be confirmed at today’s Year of Homecoming launch in Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that talks are underway which could see a second clan event held at Glamis Castle in Angus, as part of a major cultural celebration planned the weekend after the Bannockburn anniversary. VisitScotland has already agreed to back the “Spirit of Glamis” event, which has been moved back in the calendar by several weeks to capitalise on interest generated by the Bannockburn festivities.

The site at Glamis has a much bigger capacity, of 25,000, around double that of the arena at Bannockburn, much of which will be taken up with the battle re-enactment, the biggest ever hosted at the site.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland: “The events at Bannockburn and Glamis Castle are part of the exciting Homecoming 2014 programme. We are delighted to support them through the Homecoming 2014 funding.”

Earlier this month, it emerged NTS was worried about the “financial requirements” of the event being planned for Bannockburn and said its full backing depended on the level of financial support it received.

However, a spokesman said the NTS board had given the event its full backing last week.

David Broadfoot, director of Glamis Castle, said: “We had our first ever Glamis gathering last year to coincide with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which attracted 25,000.

“We have deliberately moved the dates so that they are the weekend after Bannockburn. It makes sense so that we can accommodate people from overseas who are here on holiday for a couple of weeks.”