FORGET Mel Gibson. Forget blue faces and 1990s mullets. Forget all those historically inaccurate big screen scraps in damp Scottish fields.

The real story of Braveheart is more thrilling – and surreal – than any Hollywood blockbuster. True, it is more often remembered in Spanish am-dram than American cinema.

This weekend, in the hills about the Costa del Sol, the tiny village of Teba – population 4,001 – again commemorated the day more some seven centuries ago that Scots led by Sir James Douglas came to fight the “Moors”.

And they did so with a spectacular four-day fiesta called “Douglas Days, the true story of Braveheart” when residents and visitors alike dress up as mediaeval knights to relive one of the most colourful episodes of Scottish, Spanish and Muslim history.

Video: 2017 Douglas Days celebrations in Teba

READ MORE: Historic sites to offer bespoke Gaelic tours

The event, barely noticed at home, attracts a loyal following of Scottish history buffs.

One, Dean Van Varenbergh, has been coming since he was a boy. “We Scots feel at home in this place,” the 29-year-old told El Pais. “It’s part of our history and for the locals we are family.”

It was here, in Teba, Andalusia, in August 1330 that Sir James Douglas, a hero of Scotland’s war of independence, led Scottish knights against the last Muslim kingdom of Iberia, Granada. He did so carrying the embalmed heart of his friend and sovereign, Robert Bruce, Robert I of Scotland, who had died a year before and wanted to go on a crusade.

According to legend – embellished by, among others, Sir Walter Scott – he threw the heart in its casket to his enemies. The heart, the braveheart, was eventually returned to Scotland, or so the story goes, and buried in Melrose Abbey.

The Herald:

Sir James was to return too, or at least his boiled bones were. He died in the battle, although it is not clear when or how. Teba was taken for the Christian King of Castille. But the campaign, one of many in a centuries-long war against Muslims that became known as the Reconquest, had little long-term impact. The Kingdom of Granada was to last another century and a half.

That does not stop Teba from making the most of its story. Its tiny ruined castle, the second most important fortress in Malaga region, is lit up blue for the weekend.

The entire village takes part in a re-enactment of events from the 1300s, some dressed as Christians, others are Moors, all in costumes made by volunteers. “It’s a huge commitment by all our neighbours,” Cristobal Corral. Teba’s mayor, told local journalists.

The Herald:

Scots carry a replica corpse of James Douglas through Teba

Credit: Teba council

The fiesta also takes a big commitment from a rather different village, Renton, in the Vale of Leven, where Bruce died.

Local history group Strathleven Artizans has done its own research, discovering that Muslims, out of respect, returned the remains of Douglas to the Castillian king, Alonso.

Every year the Renton men, who have been coming to Teba for years, carry a symbolic corpse draped in a Saltire, through the Spanish village.

This year it was nearly 40°C. Duncan Thomson, chairman of the Artizans, was not fazed. “What is a bit of heat to put up with to pay homage to one of Scotland’s greatest ever warriors?,” the 58-year-old asked.

“Douglas was described as the fiercest spear in Christendom. The Spanish offered him his weight in gold to fight the Saracens. He was insulted. He said Scots only fight for the man on the cross or freedom itself. Even the Saracens respected him.”

Mr Thomson, who plays a warrior called “Stout Duncan” in re-enactments, is hugely proud of Renton’s links to Bruce. But he thinks Douglas may be an even greater hero, at least on the battle field.

And he hopes a new film, Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine as Robert Bruce and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Douglas, might gain the knight the wider recognition he deserves.

He said: “We hope this film will bring Douglas more to the light. Even William Wallace and Robert Bruce are quite small compared to him as warriors. He fought for 23 years and he was the most feared man in the world.”

The Herald: Photo by Colin Mearns.

They certainly have not forgotten Douglas in Teba, which has a stone monument to the knight. This forms part of celebrations of the Douglas Days, which has come to be about much more than just one battle. Tourists make their way to the hilltop township for a Middle Ages fair and a whole series of events, including whisky and haggis tastings.

But the Andalusians have not forgotten the defeated armies of the Muslims. The fiesta included performances of Arab and North African music in an attempt to capture the feel of ancient Al-Andalus, Muslim Spain. There were even Scottish and Moorish tapas.

Visitors, some of whom get a free roof over their heads and food for their trouble, have a huge impact on the tiny community. Teba’s population doubles for the weekend.

Miguel Lopez owns a bar in the village square, where most of the fiesta takes place. He is delighted with all the visitors. “For these days we need more staff because we are overflowing,” he told El Pais