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Bannockburn re-enacted 700 years on

An army of medieval soldiers are preparing their weapons and armour for battle.

But fortunately it is only for entertainment as a team of about 400 performers get ready to re-enact the Battle of Bannockburn on its 700th anniversary.

The "brutally realistic" display will take place three times each day during the Bannockburn Live event being held at the site of the historic battlefield, near Stirling, on June 28 and 29.

The battles are being choreographed by Clanranald, who have worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, Robin Hood and Thor 2.

The live performance will feature re-enactment groups from Scotland, the US, Scandinavia, Germany and the rest of the UK.

Clanranald director Malin Heen-Allan said: "Rehearsals started last year and all the groups that wanted to take part have been given particular roles.

"The Battle of Bannockburn took place over two days, so we had to condense the key moments into 30 minutes and different groups will be performing different stages of the battle.

"There are living history and re-enactment groups from America, Scandinavia, Germany, Portugal, the rest of the UK and lots of other countries.

"We won't actually rehearse together until the day before Bannockburn Live but everyone has been practising and know the roles well.

"Most of the costume and props for Bannockburn we already had. For most of the people taking part it's a hobby and they have other jobs and professions, but for us it's a bit more, it is something that we live and breathe."

Clanranald's "Aladdin's cave" of props has been raided for weapons and uniforms for the performance, which will be very different from their usual work.

"We do a lot of work with films but this is going to be different - it's like comparing a movie with the theatre," Ms Heen-Allan said.

"There are some things that we can't do but lots of other things that we can, and that's what makes it exciting.

"It's live, so we can move the action around the field and make sure everyone who gathers to watch gets a sense of the battle.

"At the moment, everything we're using in the battle - tents, weapons, uniforms - is crammed into two small rooms in our office. It's like an 'Aladdin's cave' of medieval history."

Musicians, artists and comedians will also perform at the festival, marking the occasion of Robert the Bruce's victory over Edward II's English army.

Concerns were raised about the event after it was cut from three days to two amid worries over ticket sales and UK Armed Forces Day is also being staged in Stirling on the same weekend, but organisers are confident of reaching the 20,000 capacity.

Kate Turnbull, from Visit Scotland, said: "About 17% of people coming to the event are from the US and there also people from Australia, Canada and across Europe, so there's a huge spectrum and interest.

"Obviously the Scottish diaspora are interested in the clan element, so we have a lot of people looking forward to coming over and finding out more about their family history."

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