Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/254

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Robert the Bruce.

[1314 A.D.

Edward's advance, therefore, had to be directed between these two points, and the front of his vast array reduced to a corresponding extent.

But this was very far from all. Besides the Bannock, in itself a trifling obstacle, there were two bogs, skirting each side of the ancient causeway along which Edward had to move. One of these, now called Halbert's Bog, extended from New Park, at a point opposite Charters Hall Mains, to the foot of Brock's Brae; the other called Milton Bog, stretched from a point close to the causeway down to where the banks of the Bannock rise into wooded cliffs. These bogs lay on the north bank of the Bannock, and therefore between the Scots and the stream. They covered nearly the whole Scottish front; but there was a piece of hard land extending along both banks westward from Charters Hall to Parkmill, though this ground, being thickly wooded, was less favourable for the operations of cavalry. Practically it came to this, that the English, in order to cross the Bannock and attack the Scottish position, would have to advance in two columns: one with a front reduced sufficiently to pass between the two bogs; the other with a front of some two hundred yards to operate in the fringe of the Torwood, on the ground between Charters Hall and Parkmill.

Even this great disadvantage was not enough to satisfy the King of Scots. He directed and personally superintended the construction of elaborate defences against cavalry—the arm in which he felt most inferior to the English. He caused the ground between the two bogs, and also the hard land opposite