News from around our Club...


30 July 2020Bellway Supports Local Rotary Club.

Motorists driving into Perth on the Glasgow Road are enjoying a beautiful summer floral display thanks to Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club and Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland East).

The housebuilder donated £150 to help the local group place an additional Rotary International sign at the entrance to its Charlotte Gate residential development and planted Cotswold Gold heathers picking out the Rotary International Wheel.

The Rotary Club already had a floral display made up of 5,000 crocuses, which was planted on the same sit in 2017, as part of its Purple4Polio campaign. For over 30 years, Rotary has been working tirelessly to rid the world of the deadly disease. Over 2.5 billion children have received vaccinations, thanks to the help of Rotary.

George Delgaty of Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club said” Bellway very kindly let us plant a crocus wheel on their development two years ago and we are delighted that they have once again lent us their support. The heathers will have white flowers in late summer and the purple crocuses will again come through next Spring”.

“Hopefully people driving past will see the sign and it will inspire them to learn more about the work we do in the local community- from organizing big events like the Tayside Cycle Challenge Sportive to one-off donations to young sports stars and ongoing support of local and national charities”

Lynn Pringle, Director, Bellway Homes Ltd ( Scotland- East) said: “Rotary Club’s do such a wonderful job in the local community and we didn’t think twice when they asked us. The new sign and flowerbed look absolutely terrific”.

Perth Kinnoull Rotary Club wishes to thank Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland- East) for their support with this project and our photo shows Kirsten Gavin, Sales Manager, Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland east) and local Sales Manager, Janice officially opening the new Sign and Flowerbed on 30th July 2020.

21 July 2020Andrew Sharkey- Scouting, then and now.

We were delighted to welcome Andrew Sharkey to our meeting this evening who gave a most interesting talk on “Scouting, then and now”. He is the Chief Commissioner of Scouts Scotland and leads and manages volunteers across Scotland, supporting the provision of Scouting to  thousands of young people.

Andrew advised he is passionate about Scouting especially assisting and enabling volunteers to help youngsters develop skills for life. Over the years, he has held various roles working mainly with the Venture Scout and, more recently, the Explorer Scout sections. He believes in the importance of maintaining a role in the local area and was the Group Scout Leader in his local group where his sons are both members and his wife is a Cub Leader. He continues to be the local Explorer Scout Leader and an active member of the Clyde Region Training Team.

Giving an overview, Andrew advised that the Scouts were formed in 1907 and now have over 55 million members worldwide, including 390,000 in the UK of which over 50,000 are in Scotland. He reflected on some of the main changes in the organisation, such as a more modern uniform and that there was no longer a need to take a promise to God, making the Scouts open to youngsters of any faith or none. A more substantial change was the introduction of girls into the movement, a few older ones in 1976 and all age groups in 2007 with girls now making up approximately 40% of the Scottish membership.

As someone who has a huge interest in International Scouting, he has attended four World Scout Jamborees, led the UK contingent of over 6,000 to the European Jamboree in 2005 and was part of the UK Management team for the World Scout Moot, for those aged 18 - 25, in Iceland in 2017. However, one of his favourite camps is here in Perthshire at Blair Atholl which he attends every two years, but unfortunately not this year due to the pandemic.

In summing up, Andrew stressed he believed that most youngsters were good people and added that it was estimated that during the current lockdown, Scouts had carried out over 10,000 acts of kindness throughout the UK.

Andrew was a suitably appropriate guest as, of course, President Chris is also heavily involved in the Scouts holding, or has held, various roles including Scout Leader, Deputy District Commissioner for Perth & Kinross and District Commissioner for East Central Scotland.

07 July 2020 Tracey Horner talks about Lendwithcare

Although we were disappointed when the Lendwithcare seminar was cancelled, which was to have been hosted by us in the Royal George Hotel in April, we were delighted to welcome Tracey Horner as our special guest speaker on Tuesday.

As Project Manager, Tracey has overall responsibility for Lendwithcare and she has been the driving force for the programme since its inception in 2010.

She indicated the charity provides loans by Microfinance, which is a category of financial services targeting individuals and small businesses who lack access to conventional banking and related services. It is designed to reach excluded customers, usually poorer populations who may be geographically isolated, and help them to become self-sufficient.

Each loan can be from £15 to a four figure sum and priority is given to women as they tend to support the family much more than men. These women can use the money to set up basic to small businesses or buy plots of land or small holdings to raise chickens for their eggs, grow fruit and vegetables or rear cattle or goats. Once the business is in profit, the loan is repaid to the  funding partner or, most likely, is used to help another entrepreneur. It was gratifying to hear that less than 0.5% of bad debts were recorded.

Over the last few months, Coronavirus has affected the number of loans they have received as many of their funding partners have gone into lockdown and unable to provide any loans. In response, Lendwithcare temporarily stopped lending and launched a business solidarity fund appeal raising an amazing £245,000 which was used to support many of their traders during the current pandemic.

Tracey advised her small team work hard to ensure investors have the best possible experience supporting poor entrepreneurs so that their money is lent responsibly and fairly enabling these entrepreneurs and their families to have the best chance of working their way out of poverty.

We were advised that some 897,000 loans from over 60,000 lenders to around 129,000 entrepreneurs have been granted with in excess of £26 million loaned since Lendwithcare was set up in 2010. Of this amount, an incredible £1 million has been loaned by Rotary Clubs throughout the UK since it’s inception.

To date, Perth Kinnoull has given 59 loans, helped 360 entrepreneurs and created 193 jobs and we are proud to have played a very small part in this success story.

06 July 2020End Polio Now

To further enhance the Rotary display at the Bellway Development, President Chris, SVP Brian and George have now planted a substantial number of yellow heathers to augment the floral arrangement. With the crocuses, rhododendron and heathers, those arriving in Perth from the south, will be assured of a colourful welcome from Spring through to Autumn. Well done George for sourcing the heathers from his favourite garden centre.

05 July 2020Muriel Robertson's 100th birthday

Muriel, who is a resident at Kincarrathie House, one of the Care Homes we visit to give give the residents indoor sports, had a lovely day on Sunday, 5th July on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

She had her hair done in the morning and then received her Zoom ‘Happy Birthday’ from Bob Abernethy and fellow Rotarians. She was quite bemused and did enjoy it, although having trouble hearing at times as she’d misplaced her hearing aids!  Before lunch she then spent some time listening to some of her favourite Frank Sinatra music.

Later Muriel enjoyed a small afternoon party with resident friends, with special balloons and decorations, including an elegant ‘100’ tiara which she proudly wore.



30 June 2020Club hand over. What a whopper

With no possibility of a physical handover, outgoing President Ian thought it might be quite interesting to try something totally different to hand over the chain of office to President Elect, Chris. Knowing how keen a fisher he was, Ian asked Chris to bring in a fishing rod for the handover “ceremony” which took place, by kind permission, in Secretary Bruce’s lovely front garden.

In handing over the Presidential chain at the end of the fishing rod, Ian congratulated Chris on his appointment and wished him every success during his term in office which, due to current circumstances, would be fairly challenging! In response, and by the same method, Chris then

handed over the Past President’s badge to Ian and thanked him for his kind words and paid tribute to him for all his hard work and commitment during his term of office.

Similarly, Chris then presented Brian with his Senior Vice President’s chain stating he was looking forward to working with him over the next Rotary year. Videos of these three presentations were shown at the Club’s Zoom Assembly and Handover Meeting on 30th June.

Above Picture left to right Brian Johnston, Ian E Brown and Chris Kirk.

30 June 2020Winner of Fellowship Quaich

One of Ian E Brown's last tasks before stepping down as President was to award the Fellowship Quaich.

This year the Winner was Frank Sloan in recognition of all the hard work he has put in.

Some tasks Frank participated in include IT operator and trainer, Photography, PR & Media, Club Typesetter, Running Young Photographer of the Year, Organized Producing the Calendar, Organizing and assisting with Indoor sports at Care Homes, Helping out at all club events with the sometimes assistance of his lovely wife Deirdre and many more tasks too numerous to mention. A well-deserved popular winner.

23 June 2020Toastmasters. A safe environment to practice public speaking

Tuesday 23rd June saw us welcome Phil Cooper to our meeting via Zoom video conference. Phil is a member of both the Perth and Dundee Toastmasters clubs and is rather passionate about it, having been a past president and secretary and he says the only negative thing he has to say about Toastmasters is that he hadn't discovered it earlier.

Phil was keen to stress that Toastmasters isn't training to be a master of ceremonies and he owns neither a red jacket, cane nor top hat! He did state that Toastmasters is a safe environment to practice public and off the cuff speaking, the latter of which he put the club to test on under the banner of "Table Topics" where several members had to do an impromptu speech for 60 seconds on a topic of Phil’s choosing! 

Phil was also eager to stress that relations are being fostered between Rotary International and Toastmasters International and Steve Fairlie, who is a member of both, fully supports this idea - especially since Toastmasters has a more gender diverse membership. In the digital age of Zoom conferences it would also open us up to a wider variety of speakers from all over. The recent Perth Toastmasters meeting had a lady attend from Florida and a lady deliver a speech from Spain. 

Should you like to get in contact with Phil in regard to attending a Toastmasters meeting, his email address is phil.cooper@btinternet.com, website is https://www.perthtoastmasters.org/

Picture shows Phil and his wife Caroline engaging in one of their other favourite hobbies. 

09 June 2020Doping in Sport. What is it?

We were delighted to be visited on Zoom this evening by Nigel Hetherington who has worked for UK Anti-Doping as a national trainer for 8 years, protecting the right of all those who love sport to enjoy doping-free competition.   UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) implements and manages anti-doping policy in the UK. It works with athletes and national sports bodies to ensure compliance with the World Anti-Doping (WADA) Code.

He gave us a fascinating insight into the 10 Anti-Doping Rule Violations and many amusing examples of the ruses some athletes employ when trying to avoid punishment for an alleged rule contravention.

At the end of his talk the many and searching questions asked by members was a clear indication of the interest which Nigel generated.   Rotarian Gillian Marsh proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of all present.

Nigel has pursued professional careers in science, business and sport.  He was awarded 'Coach of the Year' in Wales and came to Scotland as the performance lead for Scottish Athletics in 2005.  He lived in SE Asia for 2 years from 2010 working as Head Coach in the internationally renowned Singapore Sports School. Today, he works as a freelance educator across sport working with the Scottish Sports Futures charity, sport governing bodies and local authorities.   He is a lifelong athlete having won national titles for sprints in Wales and is the current M60 Scottish 50km champion! 

28 April 2020April Lottery Draw


Keep your distance!!!

President Ian selecting the April lottery numbers on a strategically placed laptop outside Frank Sloan's back door.

14 April 2020Kinnoull Tower Controversy

Rotarian Steve Norris, wearing his hat as Chair of the Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park Group, is pictured with his dog Lexi in front of the tower which is causing such concern.

Perched on a steep crag, the Kinnoull Hill Tower is a 19th century folly.  Not actually a real hillfort, the original builders went to great trouble to construct an 'instant ruin' that looked like a castle that had recently fallen down.

Recent work has angered the tower's local admirers because it now looks 'like it was built yesterday'.

See the full story here.

04 April 2020A Story Worth £1000

The winning ticket for the £1,000 prize in the March lottery calendar draw was sold/gifted by rotarian Brian Raine to Geoff, a friend of his from his Durham University days who now lives in the Bedford area.

Fast forward to the Calendar draw on Tuesday 31 March, executed by President Ian under the watchful eye, two metres away, of Frank Sloan. and the number selected by the system for the £1,000 prize was his friend Geoff’s.

In his reply to Brian’s email telling him of his win Geoff said, “Would you do me the kindness of accepting the prize for the charity's good causes - or even, if you know of a different, but very real, need in these extremely difficult times for so many people and organisations, could you please put it towards that? I hope that doesn't make for further difficulties for you, Brian, but I am selfish! I want the joy of having won; combined with the pleasure of knowing that the sum has gone to a very worthy cause”.

Rotarian Brian has very close connections with the Lilias Graham Trust which he is aware is in urgent need of funding so with Geoff’s approval, arrangements are being made for £1,000 to be transferred to them.

The Lilias Graham Trust (LGT) is a Scottish charity that offers independent parenting capacity assessments, within a residential facility and is located in rural Stirlingshire

The LGT provides residential placements to parents and families in cases where there are concerns about parents meeting the needs of their child/children and the local authority require more evidence-based information about whether the child can remain safe within the family.

The protection of vulnerable children is the focus. With experienced staff on call 24 hours a day, The LGT provides and assesses parenting skills and helps parents and families to explore and develop positive relationships.

The picture shows Brian Raine, Claire Thompson and Amy Hatrick during their visit to our club in October 2018.

24 March 2020New Rotary Sign at Bellway Homes site.



END POLIO NOW- George Delgaty has now further enhanced the Glasgow Road site at the Bellway Homes entrance. We will also consider what other ways we can continue the fight to eradicate Polio worldwide.


Click here for more "International" information from George.

13 March 2020Presidents' Dinner 2020


Our Presidents Dinner, held on Friday 13th March at the Royal George Hotel, raised in excess of £4,600.

Thanks are due to everyone involved in organising the event and to all those who contributed in any way during the evening.

Guests included the presidents of the two other Perth -based Rotary Clubs and the President of the Inner Wheel Club of Perth.

The evening's speakers were the Very Reverend Dr James Simpson, who proposed the toast to "The Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull" and Sheriff Lindsay Wood who replied on behalf of the guests.


Photo above (L - R): Robert Macduff-Duncan, President of Perth St Johns; President Ian E Brown; Mrs Dorothy MacCloy, President of Inner Wheel Club of Perth and Gordon Hay, President of the Perth Club.



Pictured on the left are Piper Ian Stevenson, President Ian, Gordon Hay, Very Reverend Dr James Simpson and Robert Macduff-Duncan.

Seated:  Mrs Catherine Brown, Mrs Dorothy MacCloy and Mrs Helen Simpson.

03 March 2020Perth City Hall

Debra Salem who is well known to us as a judge in our Young Singer Competition talked to us this evening about the "Perth City Hall - Past, Present and Future". 

She joined Culture PK as their Engagement Officer in October 2018 and is responsible for delivering the Perth City Hall Community Participation Plan connected with the redevelopment of the new museum for Perth.

Debra illustrated the history of the city hall from its beginnings in the 1840s until the culturally significant building, as we now know it, was opened in 1908.   She then took us through the hopes for the future of the hall by showing detailed plans of what is to come, including future planned useage of the present Museum and Art Gallery.   

Her background is in engagement, performance, theatre and music. She has worked with Horsecross Arts setting up and delivering various choir projects as well as Creative Producer for Community and School engagement for the re-opening of Perth Theatre.

26 February 2020Young Photographer of the Year 2020

Our club’s Young Photographer of the Year 2020 is Alvin Maina from Kenya who is a student at Glenalmond College.

Alvin submitted three high quality photographs which the four judges unanimously praised, not just for the quality of the pictures but also the thought which had gone into his interpretation of the titles he had given his photos.

He is pictured on the right with his trophy and a framed copy of his winning photograph,  accompanied by President Ian and Keir Downey who is Head of Art at Glenalmond College.




Alvin is pictured here with Steve Fairlie, our Youth Convenor.

As well as the handsome trophy and framed picture he received a voucher to the value of £25 kindly donated by e-Computers of Scott Street, Perth.


25 February 2020Brian Raine and His World Tours

Rotarian Brian Raine (on left), a founder member of this club, was our speaker this evening who entertained us with tales of his experiences organising and taking part in world tours involving rugby, hockey and pipe bands.

As a history teacher, housemaster and head of games at Strathallan School in Forgandenny Brian organised a successful tour in 1988 with the boys rugby and girls hockey teams to Singapore, Australia, Fiji and Los Angeles.  The tour included 47 boys and girls and just 5 staff!

1999 saw him embarking on a Rugby and Pipe Band tour of Australia with the pupils of Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.

In his younger days Brian was a rugby player of a very high standard.   He started playing when he was at grammar school in Durham, played in the Durham County schools team and was a final England Schoolboys triallist.   During his time at university he played a part in the County Durham squad.   Following his move to Scotland in 1970 he played with Edinburgh Wanderers and later Perthshire.

Frank Sloan, his host for the evening, paid tribute to his skill as a player and thanked him for his inspiring talk.

18 February 2020Financial help for young sports stars.

(L-R) Rear: Steve Fairlie, President Ian Brown and Ken Thompson. Front: Aaron King and Alexander English.


Aaron King, pictured along with his father Jim (on right), was until recently a pupil at Perth High School.

He is currently part of Scottish Cycling's Junior Performance Squad and represents Scotland in track and road cycling events.

Now aged 17 years he is ranked  2nd in Scotland in his age group and is looking forward to a busy season of improvement and victory in his travels around the United Kingdom and Europe.

President Ian presented Aaron with a cheque for £500 to assist with the huge travelling costs involved in his pursuit of success in the coming year.



Alexander English, accompanied by mum Judith, is a student at Strathallan School and is making great progress in the world of tennis. 

Still only 13 yrs he is ranked Scotland's number one in his age group and has already represented his country in 2018 at the 4 Nations Championships.

He plans to travel to many parts of the United Kindom in the coming year, competing in various national and European events, and to help with his many costs he was also presented with a cheque for £500 by President Ian.

We hope that Aaaron and Alexander stay fit and safe in the coming season and wish them every success.

11 February 2020St Johnstone Community Trust

Atholl Henderson who is Chief Executive of the St Johnstone Community Trust visited us to explain the work of the trust during his period in the role extending to over 20 years.

Atholl has built up a highly successful and award winning programme of football development and socially beneficial activities, and has been instrumental in the move to convert the Community Department to the Community Trust - an independant organisation with charitable status.

Brian Johnston who was his host for the evening proposed a vote of thanks.

04 February 2020Young Singers Competition 2020


This year's competition was again held in the UHI Theatre at the Perth College on Tuesday 4th February.

The purpose of the competition is to provide local talented young singers  with the   opportunity to perform solo, under some “friendly” pressure in front of an audience.  It’s a competition with prizes at stake, but the real benefit is the performance experience it provides our young singers.




L - R: Libby Poynter, Justyna Grajewska, Robert Oakes, Michelle Campbell, Pavlina Ivanova

The results of the competition were:

Schools Section: 1st place Pavlina Ivanova (Perth High), 2nd place Michelle Campbell (Perth High)

UHI Section: Ist place and overall winner Robert Oakes (UHI Music), 2nd place Justyna Grajewska (UHI Musical Theatre)

Libby Poynter of Perth Grammar School was highly commended for the Best Song of the evening.

Connie Uribe (not pictured) of UHI Musical Theatre was also highly commended by the judges.


Judges (L - R) Peter Caban, Debora Salem and Michael Ellacott










Amy Bauchope (left) and Kiera O'Neill were our entertaining hosts for the evening.

30 January 2020Past Presidents' Dinner












Ex Presidents’ Annual Dinner

Gillian Marsh had the pleasure as outgoing President to organise this annual dinner which this year was held on 30th January and was first arranged by Douglas Barr back in 2007.  

This year’s venue was The Italian Corner; a change from The North Port Restaurant.   We were delighted that Michael Thomson and his wife Rosemary were able to join us for pre meal drinks. As is customary the current President Ian E Brown attended as a special guest as it falls to him to arrange the 2021 dinner.   

A great night of fellowship was had with Bob Abernethy extending a hearty vote of thanks including a toast in remembrance of Douglas Barr, Danny Fitzsimons and Peter MacDougall who sadly are no longer with us.   

A number of us had a night cap in the nearby local pub!!!

21 January 2020Fund Raising Whist Drive

As a first for The Rotary Club of Perth Kinnoull, the whist evening held in the Royal George Hotel, seems to have been enjoyed by all who attended. Novices and semi-professionals learned and instructed as required without resulting in "yellow or red cards"

Winner of the coveted first prize was Steve Fairlie. Second, on a tie break was Marjorie Marsh.We won't mention where daughter Susan finished in the grand scheme of things. Thanks to the Rotarians who attended and brought along numerous friends to join in the fun.  Also to the Royal George Hotel for allowing us the use of the room.










Steve Fairlie was the winner followed closely by Marjorie Marsh in the runner-up spot.







Determined to keep it a family affair Marjorie's daughter Susan picked up the rather nice booby prize.


07 January 2020What Other Rotary Clubs Can Do!

Malcolm Taylor, who is a member of the Kirriemuir Rotary Club, came along to speak to us with some ideas on fund-raising.   He was absolutely full of excellent and obviously successful ideas if the results of his own club's efforts are anything to go by.

Their most notable achievement must be the enormous sum of money they have raised to help build proper toilet facilities in six schools in Nepal.   Work started this month and is due for completion in December 2020. The Rotary Club Himalaya Gurkhas is their partner.

Malcolm is pictured (centre) with rotarian Brian Raine (left) and Malcolm's host for the evening Douglas Sinclair on the right.

03 December 2019Brian Johnston - Me and my rat.









Magawa with his handler ready to start work.





Brian, who is a great supporter of the "Lend With Care" charity, gave us an interesting insight into the work of rats in detecting landmines and other ERWs (explosive remnants of war) and of their training in this much valued and necessary task.

The photo on the left shows his sponsored rat, Magawa, with his handler.   Magawa was born and trained in Tanzania before first going to work in Angola but is now working in Cambodia.  Cambodia is the world’s second most mined country in the world and Magawa is on a mission to protect local communities.

Magawa, who was born on 25th November 2013 tips the scales at 1.23 Kg and measures 70 cms from his nose to the tip of his tail.   He is a highly trained Mine Detection Rat or MDR for short and saves lives by using his remarkable sense of smell to safely sniff out explosives faster than existing methods.  His favourite foods are bananas and peanuts.

26 November 2019Reflections of a Primus

....or "Stories Round a Camping Stove".

Bruce Cameron expanded this week on the job talk he gave to us in August 2017, shortly after his arrival in the club.

He told a sometimes sad but mostly very amusing and entertaining story of his visits around the world including trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa including  South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique.

He met many world-renowned personalities on his travels and let us see some of the gifts he had received as mementos of his visits with Yasser Arafat in Gaza and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa.







The photograph shows Bruce (centre) with President Ian E Brown and Brian Johnston who thanked Bruce for sharing his experiences with us.

07 November 2019Young Artists' Competition 2019

At the opening of the Perthshire Art Association's Annual Exhibition on Thursday our President Ian E Brown informed those present that the our club has been organising the Young Artist Competition for Perth Schools since 2007, making it the 13th occasion of our involvement.

This year we had 38 entries which as usual gave the judges from the Art Association a very difficult task in selecting the winning entries.  President Ian thanked them for their expertise and time spent in judging the art work.

The photo shows PAA President Ian Dunsire with James Lauder, Aimee Findlay and President Ian E Brown.

Fiona Haldane presented the prizes to the young winners (see below).   Fiona was born in Dundee and attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art between 1975-1979.   She first started to exhibit in 1996 and is now recognised as one of the leading pastel landscape artists in Scotland.

James Lauder is shown on the left with his winning picture.   Above Junior runner-up Aimee Findlay is pictured with Fiona Haldane.   The winner and runner-up in the senior age group were unable to attend the presentation.


S1 to S3 Age Group

Winner - James Lauder (Strathallan School)

Runner-up - Aimee Findlay (Perth Grammar School)

S4 to S6 Age Group

Winner - Mina Brennan (Strathallan School)

Runner-up - Natasha Beal (Kilgraston School)

05 November 2019Kevin Hayes - Job Talk

Kevin's "job talk" left us in no doubt what an extremely busy man he is.   

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbiters.

As a chartered quantity surveyor and chartered arbitrator he provides professional services as arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator.   He also claims to be an expert party adviser!

He has been involved in more than 440 disputes either as arbitrator, adjudicator, independent expert, mediator or expert witness.

Kevin is a past visiting lecturer and examiner for arbitration module on MSc Course in Construction Law at Leeds Metropolitan University; tutor on adjudication, School of Law, University of Salford and RICS DRS Online Academy.

He is married to Dominique, better known as Mimi.    He has three children and eight grandchildren.   Another great love in his life is his border collie, Skye.

Interests include fly-fishing for wild brown trout and grayling; gardening; hiking; music and photography.

He tells us that one of his more notable recent achievements is his ability to still go up the stairs two at a time.

29 October 2019The Battle of Dupplin Moor

The death of Robert the Bruce in 1329 left Scotland with a 4 year-old king, Robert’s son David II. Like his father before him however, David’s claim to the throne was far from clear.

Yet another contender, Edward Balliol, seized upon the opportunity to stake his claim to the crown. Edward’s father, King John Balliol had reigned in Scotland until 1296. Supported by Henry Beaumont, an Anglo-Scottish noble who had lost his lands when Robert the Bruce became king, Balliol left France to seek the support of the newly crowned English King Edward III. Although the king agreed in principle, he stipulated that any invasion launched by Balliol must be by sea and not land.

By the end of July, Balliol and Beaumont had assembled a small army of around 2,000, mainly Englishmen, boarded 88 ships and sailed from Yorkshire to Fife.

Deciding to engage the smaller of two Scottish armies that had been mustered against them, Balliol marched on Perth. The Scottish army waiting for them on the northern banks of the River Earn was some 10,000 strong.

Commanded by Donald, Earl of Mar, the Scots were so confident in their numerical superiority that they didn’t even bother to post sentries before settling down to enjoy the evening festivities on the night of the 10th August 1332.

Unobserved, the English army crossed the Earn and took up a strong defensive position on some high ground with their longbowmen strategically positioned on either flank. Incensed at being outmanoeuvred, the Scots charged the English position, only to be met by an arrow storm which continued to take its toll in wave after devastating wave.

It is said that the Scottish bodies were piled to the height of a spear whilst the English losses were light in comparison.

A few weeks later Edward Balliol was crowned king at Scone, a throne he would occupy only to the end of the year.

The tactics adopted by the English however would be used to great effect over the next hundred years across the battlefields of Europe.   The deathly power of the English longbow had been demonstrated for the first time

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