The Western Trail
Stunning Glentrool in Galloway Forest Park is one of the key points in all the trails. An impressive Bruce stone marks the spot where Robert notched up his first major victory over the occupying forces. After wintering, probably between Rathlin Island off Ulster and the Highlands, the king landed back in Ayrshire early in 1307. He was camped in Glentrool in April with no more than 300 men and managed to lure the Earl of Pembroke and 1,500 heavy cavalry along the narrow track on the south side of Loch Trool. Bruce's forces bombarded the enemy with boulders before falling on them as they scattered. Pembroke fled back to Carlisle and Bruce's reputation began to grow.
Whithorn, seen by many as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland, was home to St Ninian. His shrine was held in the highest of esteem by Bruce who, as a dying man, made the long trip from Dumbarton on Pilgrimage in April, 1329. Bruce's health had been broken by years of campaigning and he suffered from a skin disease some believe was leprosy. Shortly after returning from the pilgrimage, Bruce died.