In 1296 the wars for Scottish independence from England had begun, and in 1304, the English had apparently won. But in 1306 Robert the Bruce ascended the Scottish throne, and re-opened the conflict. In 1314 Edward Bruce, Robert’s brother, besieged the strategically critical Stirling Castle, controlling the route north into Scotland. To relieve the fort, and preserve their strategic position, the English assembled a force of 17000 men, two thousand of them cavalry, to crush the Scottish forces roughly half their size.
Where most battles in that time were short, this lasted two remarkable days of fighting, with the Scots finally driving off their superior foe, and leaving the route open for the Scots to raid into northern England.
While the album has been solid so far, this, this song, is the point it fucking takes off for me. This isn’t the relentless gravity and steadily advancing power of “The Lost Battallion” or the title track, The feel of the melody is of soaring speed – a car racing full out down a winding road, or soaring low over Scottish hills as messengers run to carry the message and the call to war with a celtic and bagpipe flair. Yes, there’s faster music around, but this is a relentless, full bore, pedal to the metal rush that I also get out of songs like the live, Show of Hands version of “Red Sector A” by Rush, or “Turbo Lover” by Judas Priest.