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The Eastern Trail


Ten sites make up the Eastern trail which stretches from Caerlaverock's impressive stone built castle in the south to the ruins of Sanquhar Castle in the north. The trail takes in the motte alongside the river Annan that housed the first castle of the Bruce family when they moved to Scotland around 1124. The motte was also the site of the official opening of the trails by the Duke of York.

The Lochmaben motte survives today but as part of the town's golf course. However, the spectacular ruins of a stone castle, built late, are located on the southern side of the Castle Loch. Another important part of the trail lies in the hills above the town of Moffat. The Ericstane no longer seems to exist but the visitor can get a distinct feel for the momentous meeting that took place there in late March, 1306. With a little imagination we can visualised the Bruce party, heading for the coronation at Scone, winding up the hillside where a young man sat astride his horse waiting. He was James Douglas and that meeting launched a lifelong association that culminated with "The Good Sir James" losing his life in southern Spain fighting the Moors while carrying Bruce's embalmed heart on crusade.

Farther north, Wanlockhead was home to Bruce's herd of palfreys, no doubt including the one he rode when he killed de Bohun on the eve of Bannockburn.