Bannockburn 2014

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guthrie
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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Thu Jul 03, 2014 10:34 am

Well it is hard to see how they could have made the arena much bigger what with the stands and all and still leave room for the LH camp. The battle took place this year in a field at the back of the one with which you are familiar, which is actually smaller than the area used for the battle in the past.

So, yeah, maybe, but then maybe not. The could have fitted another 50 or 6 on there, but that would have meant less space for horses.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Sausages » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:11 am

Bannockburn was a great show. The battle looked great - many people I talked to had been on the saturday and back on the Sunday. When the battles were on the camp was quieter but then MOBBED as soon as the show finished. The desire for information and for historical facts was thoroughly heartening to see. The battle looked effective and the audiences loved the horses. The narrator covered the main historical points in an entertaining manner and those guys were on the field three times each day for battles that were 50 minutes long and it was hot.

https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=Ban ... osted-desc

there are a whole load of pics of the event here.

Surely there isnt a bit of sniping going on here is there guys lol, :P it was a great weekend, Clanranald got groups together from all over including from europe and had not one single accident. They encouraged members of other groups to get involved - it wasnt Clanranald members who commanded the schiltrons for example. The public enjoyed seeing the horses take part and given that on the Saturday they had to contend with fly pasts from various planes as well as the Red Arrows the riders kept control of the horses and kept everyone safe.

Im not sure the benefit of posting pictures of people just to slag off their kit, some of the people there were actors, some were reeanctors. This show was never going to be pure reenactment. The living history campsites looked fab, people were invited in to the camps, they got to talk to people, Guthrie you say you were the most authentically dressed but did you go round all the camps, talk to the guys examine their kit, ask what it was made from or dyed from? If you didnt it seems a bit presumptious to make such a sweeping generalisation honey. There were some inaccuracies but so many people said that they had learned a huge amount of history that they either didnt know or had forgotten and that surely is the point.

The guys rehearsed all day on the Friday to put the show on, Clanranald held training days and went along to the training days of other groups and given that the show sold out on the Saturday and was just 100 folk short of a sell out on the Sunday that was 19900 people along to watch. When was the last time that Scotland held a reenactment event that attracted that number. We did Arbroath once where there were 10k but that was many years ago and Dunfermline's Bruce festival has attraced 15k in the past i think but 20k?

The days were long and hard work but the event was very very enjoyable. Both as a reenactor and as a member of the public. The Problems with queues were less of a problem on the Sunday and there could have been more food stalls but overall it think it will be seen as a success - miserable dour Scotsman Newspaper notwithstanding. it might not please the purists amongst you but groups were paid to go along and if someone is paying you - you do what you are paid to do. The groups that were there did exactly that and it was fab. I was delighted to be part of it.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:09 am

The Scotsman is well known for its unionist propaganda, to put it bluntly.
Sausages, that's the other way of putting it, and you are correct.

The interesting question though is whether we'd have gotten 9k audiences if there hadn't been all the homecoming stuff on at the same time, since that would be a more fair comparison with previous Bannockburns, which did have quite a few thousand through the gate, but I can't recall how many.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:15 am

I asked the horse people on Sunday, seems the flyover later on saturday spooked one of the horses enough that it stepped on the foot of one of the handlers. I'm glad it didn't fly over when the show was actually on, there is perhaps less training you can give a horse for low flying jet aircraft.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Fox » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:28 am

Sausages wrote:...that was 19900 people along to watch....

If that's accurate, then those are big numbers.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:48 am

I don't want to sound like I'm saying it was pants; i'ts just I'm something of a depressive person, especially when tired. Nevertheless, I think most people attending had a good time once they'd gotten past the queues or brought their own lunch. It's just it felt like a normal bannockburn/ festival type thing to me; it was a bit average in some ways, and could have been better in others. I appreciate many people put a lot of work into it; so did I in my own way, from sewing to researching the history.
As far as I am aware most of the public have greatly enjoyed every Bannockburn re-enactment there has been in the past, of which I have taken part in 3 or 4. It's an awareness of the previous ones that informs my comments now.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Sausages » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:02 pm

The figures were given to us by Unique events staff as they came round at the end of the day. I have no reason to believe that they were anything other than accurate.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:06 pm

Actually I would be interested in how they worked it out, given that i couldn't make that whilst attempting a headcount, but they did I think have ticket stubs of some sort.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Fox » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:30 pm

Sausages wrote:The figures were given to us by Unique events staff as they came round at the end of the day. I have no reason to believe that they were anything other than accurate.

I have no reason to believe they weren't accurate either; nor was even implying they weren't correct; I was just being cautious.

I know that most event organisers over-estimate, or even down right lie, about entrance figures.

As an event organiser, I can say that, personally, I don't lie about my entrance figures, and my estimates are usually pretty accurate.

But it's a bit like being in prison; everyone says they innocent, but talk to any inmate and they'll tell you it's only true for them, all the rest are guilty as charged. :D



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Graham Field » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:30 pm

Hi

Some feedback from the battle of Bannockburn (live). I had read all the previous comments and decided to wait until after the event before posting, and knew of the past battles, and spoke with various people about the battle organisers, but never had been to a reenactment north of the border, although I have spent a lot of time working and travelling in Scotland, and also took into account the probable strong nationalistic feeling that was likely to be present given the forthcoming independence vote, but still decided to go, along with 4 other members of the Medieval Combat Society who were interested in attending.

From the outset it was obvious that it was a well funded, high profile event, and well organised for the Re-enactors. The security was very tight and visible, with security fencing and professional staff around the whole site 24/7 and a seating/stand area around the whole arena. Knowing how many people the arena would hold gives a good indication to the numbers watching each battle, and with the exception of the second battle on Saturday when there was some rain, they were completely full.

The press a few weeks before were telling the public that there were large numbers of unsold online tickets, but in the end they had to turn away people on the Saturday and sell them tickets for the Sunday. The press I believe reported then that it was so popular that the public had difficulty getting in, a complete change to the unsold ticket story!

I cannot say anything for the public experience except that all the ones we met were very happy with watching the battle. The clash with Armed forces day a few miles down the road may have caused some issues, or even bolstered the event as people travelled to see both, and we certainly enjoyed the red arrows, Lancaster fly past and fireworks display. The Armed forces day was a free event and Bannockburn charged a fee, so to sell out on both days, they must have done something right! The public were friendly mainly supporting Scotland and the banter was no different than I would have expected and seen the English give with other English vs 'insert foreign foe' events. After each battle we posed for pictures and chatted with the public, and had no problems whatsoever.

The event organising company did a great job for us, the best I have seen at any reenactment event. We have never been so well looked after with a generous portion of bacon/haggis/black pudding sausage meat in a bun, fruit, yoghurt, with tea/coffee/water provided for us each morning (Fri-Sun), and hundreds of bottles of water during the battles. Also plush flushing loos, (only a couple of portaloos), and clean showers open if I recall 07.00-23.00 only 5 minutes’ walk away in the local school.

The battle but not the event itself was free from tartan, with the various family name clans being present in the clan village, I had a look round as the event was opening to the public, and there were certainly a lot of enthusiastic clans with information on clan genealogy, not surprisingly a lot of their visitors were American. Some of the clans were dressed up in medieval kit, they had done their best, but were left behind by most of the reenactors, and there was even some genuine vintage string mail! Overall these and the associated clan coloured paraphernalia such as clan clocks, banners, T shirts, paintings etc, filled the space where most reenactment events have medieval traders/modern stuff to sell, and probably appealed to the attending public. There were a few medieval style traders in the living history area, and there was a definite separation between the modern and historical areas.

We arrived on the Thursday and there was a practice on Friday, lots of marching and drill (not really my cup of tea), we did more drill and practice and rehearsal than any other multi-bash re-enactment event I have been to. Each group fought members of their own group which overcame the different fight styles (such as choreographed or hit locations such as head, lower legs), inexperience with some participants, and also some with complete lack of hand protection and very limited head protection. Hand and head protection of sufficient quality is enforced with just about every reputable medieval group today in multi-bashes. One person’s axe head did come flying off (no not Bruce's) and some spears were dropped onto others in drilling, luckily no one was hurt, but emphasises, the need for adequate hand and head protection (i.e. HSE Personal Protective Equipment). A number of the participants were 'actors' with very limited combat 'awareness' and kit. Having said that there were no major injuries just a few small cuts and scrapes. I also agree with the comment about mops between the ropes, there appeared to be no policing that I saw, but may have missed, but there were certainly public and the press in there, any incident between the ropes could have voided the PLI due to negligence?

There was a kit list published well before the event, and there is good and bad kit at every reenactment, and yes as with every event there was room for improvement. Thankfully there were no Braveheart lookalikes on the battlefield painted in blue woad and wearing tartan, just some wondering around the event.

As for 3 battles per day, that was relatively easy, if you are used to staying in kit, and for me it was easier than normal as I had ditched the plate arms and legs to be correct for the period. Having said that we were also camped next to the arena, so could easily sit in our camp to pose and rest. There was only 1 fight per battle and that not too long, and it was a lot less heat than Tewkesbury which itself was cooler than Agincourt last year which hit 42 degC on the battlefield, and in a lot more armour.

They did have a few horses, and the arena was certainly big enough to hold them with that number of reenactors. The battle itself was scripted and told the story of the two days of fighting, and made tweaks here and there over the two days to improve the show. The horses ran between an opening made in the Schiltrons, not so good to watch from the front, but impressive from the side. The fight itself involved the Scots ditching their spears (many were not combat safe), and the front lines charging passed each other which gave a nice effect of spreading the battle across the whole battlefield, where people could fight their opposites. In all, the battle was well organised, and had good commentary.

I played Aymer de Valence the Earl of Pembroke on the Saturday, and had a surcoat, shield and banner made up for the event as well as a pair of chain chausses with knee cops to suit the time period, as well as doing some research on the character, including a visit to Westminster Abbey where his tomb exists, (see http://www.themcs.org/characters/Aymer%20de%20Valence.htm). I know my scabbard was a little early, but I had it in the garage for many years and decided to use it.

We made many friends including those Scotland, England, Sweden (and another Gotland invite :-) we will have to go), Luxembourg, Portugal, their journeys put our 8 hour drive to get there, to shame.

It is my opinion that if more English reenactors were encouraged through forums such as this to be present with good kit to make the event better, which I believe reading the previous posts, happened in previous years, and those who do criticise may be seen by others as arm chair generals, making comments without attempting themselves to improve such events. Having said that it is better to get peoples thoughts out in the open as long the facts are correct.

There are some pictures of the event here: http://www.themcs.org/other%20events/pictures/Gallery/2014%20Bannockburn%20Live/index.html, a lot of the public photographs were only those of the Scottish schiltrons.

After all said and done, if given the opportunity to do the 700th anniversary again, would I? Yes absolutely, it was a great event, our members and I had fun and all of us were glad to have been there at the 700th anniversary event.

Regards

Graham


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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby latheaxe » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:38 am

Good write up there graham, We considered going this year but as you said, we were unsure of the nationalistic overtones and really the organisors didnt seem to actively try and recruit English re-enactment groups to go.. Maybe they should have asked an English group to take care of recruiting English groups? Reading your views and seeing the various photo's on Facebook and on the web it looked like it was a good event and being looked after by the organisors go's along way to make groups happy with everything they have invested getting to the event, I believe there is talk of the event being run again next year? If so I think its a cert that the Armourials would be going.. :wink:



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:20 pm

I'd be interested in hearing about any talk of the event taking place again next year.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Ne'erdowell » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:28 pm

guthrie wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-28071246


I'm unfamiliar with the period and I wondered about the crooked pikes in the first picture in the series. Are those authentic?



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:32 pm

Ne'erdowell wrote:
guthrie wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-28071246


I'm unfamiliar with the period and I wondered about the crooked pikes in the first picture in the series. Are those authentic?

Probably not, but there's a distinct lack of people doing pollarding/ coppicing/ whatever it's called to produce nice straight 2 inch thick poles that are 12 or 14 foot long. The ones at Flodden last year were worse, simply because getting the right wood is very hard. The wood industry (there's a hint in the name) is geared up to produce certain types of wood and sawdust, but not others, and those are very different to what was available at the time. So someone was giving it a go and obviously couldn't get the right wood, but nice try anyway.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Medicus Matt » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:29 am

guthrie wrote:Probably not, but there's a distinct lack of people doing pollarding/ coppicing/ whatever it's called to produce nice straight 2 inch thick poles that are 12 or 14 foot long. The ones at Flodden last year were worse, simply because getting the right wood is very hard. The wood industry (there's a hint in the name) is geared up to produce certain types of wood and sawdust, but not others, and those are very different to what was available at the time. So someone was giving it a go and obviously couldn't get the right wood, but nice try anyway.


As an aside, would they have been pollarded? Examination of the remains of the wood found in the sockets of Anglo Saxon spears shows that they're made from planks, not trimmed poles.
Better rigidity. Nobody wants a bendy pole.


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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:35 am

Medicus Matt wrote:
guthrie wrote:Probably not, but there's a distinct lack of people doing pollarding/ coppicing/ whatever it's called to produce nice straight 2 inch thick poles that are 12 or 14 foot long. The ones at Flodden last year were worse, simply because getting the right wood is very hard. The wood industry (there's a hint in the name) is geared up to produce certain types of wood and sawdust, but not others, and those are very different to what was available at the time. So someone was giving it a go and obviously couldn't get the right wood, but nice try anyway.


As an aside, would they have been pollarded? Examination of the remains of the wood found in the sockets of Anglo Saxon spears shows that they're made from planks, not trimmed poles.
Better rigidity. Nobody wants a bendy pole.

There's a distinct lack of high medieval poles been found in Scotland. Bits of house, yes, but I am not aware of anything pole like. So who knows, maybe they did saw them. On the other hand I don't recall the poles at Flodden, which were 16ft long, being particularly bendy. How well they would take being stabbed into someone is another matter.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby John Waller » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:16 am

C17th pikes were cut from planks. Surviving examples are tapered from a point around shoulder height to both the butt and point to give a balanced weapon. They ain't a coppiced pole but a weapon made by a skilled craftsman. What the sweaties over the border got up to in the C14th may be a different matter.


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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:54 pm

OKay, thanks, that makes further research required. I'll have to check accounts to see if there's any useful words used for the poles, in say the 15th century.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Fox » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:35 pm

guthrie wrote:2 inch thick poles that are 12 or 14 foot long.

Is there any evidence that suggests that the poles at Bannockburn would have been that long?



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:33 pm

Fox wrote:
guthrie wrote:2 inch thick poles that are 12 or 14 foot long.

Is there any evidence that suggests that the poles at Bannockburn would have been that long?

Yes, but it's not my research and I don't have access to it. Scott McMaster stated 14 feet, based on research; some author of a modern book on bannockburn liked 12 foot and it stands to reason that, as we've already discussed in another thread, they would have been of a decent length, over 10 foot anyway.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Fox » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:21 pm

I'm still not convinced; although 12ft might be possible, that seems like the longest to me.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby guthrie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:40 am

I'd accept 12 foot as being a reasonable length.



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Re: Bannockburn 2014

Postby Graham Field » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:05 am

Thanks for the comments. The anniversary event this year was great. We would love to attend future events, but as a London based group, an annual trek is unlikely. If there was the same level of funding as 2014 to make it a major event again we could be interested. Other events draw our call now, although not an anniversary, we have an opportunity this year to camp and reenact on the battlefield of Crecy, and next year in 2015 we have Agincourt and Magna Carta. However we will look back in future years, glad to have made the 700th anniversary Bannockburn event :D


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