English King Edward II, along with approximately 20,000 troops, advanced through the Lowlands of Scotland with relative ease. Arriving at Edinburgh on June 17, 1314, the army progressed to Leith, where they stopped for five days to collect supplies. The next step for the invading army was a 22-mile forced march to Falkirk. On Saturday June 23rd they progressed along the old Roman road from Falkirk, advancing on Stirling Castle, which they meant to relieve.
Scottish King Robert the Bruce strategically blocked Edward's path, planting his men in the dense wood of the New Park and set his standard in the Borestone there. This meant that he had an impassable scrub on his right, the stream-riddled and boggy Carse on his left, Stirling Castle behind him and the Bannock Burn, which Edward would have to cross, before him.
Among Bruce's army is said to have been a contingent of men from the "youthful" Clan Cameron, perhaps being led by John de Cameron, the supposed VII Chief and Captain of Clan Cameron. It should be noted that this collection of West Highlanders would probably not have been referred to as "Clan Cameron" at this early period. As to the Cameron men's numbers, it is thought that they made up only a very slight portion of Bruce's 5,500 trained men. In addition to being outnumbered approximately four-to-one, the Scots brought just 500 light cavalry to the field, in comparison to Edward's 2,000 heavy cavalry. Edward also brought 17,000 archers and spear-wielding foot soldiers, in comparison to the "few" archers which the Scots army had recruited from the Ettrick Forest.
As the battle began that June 24th Edward II foolishly advanced his cavalry across the Bannock Burn, taking up a position on the Carse between the Pelstream Burn and the Bannock Burn, falling into Bruce's trap by confining his mobile force into an impossibly narrow area. Robert the Bruce's brother Edward, commanding the men of Galloway, Aberdeen and the south-east Highlands, met the English frontal assault. Edward Bruce's schiltrons repulsed the English cavalry, killing their commander. When the English archers opened their massive assault upon the Scottish army's left flank, Bruce immediately brought his cavalry into action, driving the celebrated bowmen from the field. Then, at this key moment of battle, Bruce brought in his reserve division so explosively that the rapidly retreating English army became unavoidable targets for their own back line of archers.
Edward II decided at this point that he had seen enough, rushing to the relative safety of Stirling Castle. However, Sir Phillip Mowbray, governor of the castle, refused to admit him entry. Consequently, Edward II fled towards Dunbar. Knowing that their king had deserted them left the English army with little fighting spirit. Suddenly, from behind Coxet Hill, there appeared the "small folk," kept in reserve for this purpose. To the battle-weary eyes of the English, this looked like a wild attack by fresh Scottish troops. The English right flank tried to follow their King from the field, their center headed for the waters of the Forth, and their left fell back like "human debris" into the Bannock Burn.
Not only were the English totally defeated in pitched battle, but Bruce grabbed valuable hostages and Edward II's mighty train of equipment, all £200,000 of it, was left to the Scots. Although it would be an additional fourteen years until the war with England was officially over, there was no doubt that Robert the Bruce and his men had won its most decisive battle.