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KING'S VIEW; Photos reveal Bruce's 'real' spider cave.


IT is one of the most evocative images in history - the moment Robert the Bruce was inspired to battle by a humble spider.

But for centuries historians have disagreed over the whereabouts of the cave where the Scots King hid after defeat by the English atMethven.

Now Scots-born photographer Andy McInroy, 33, claims to have unravelled the mystery.

He used new digital technology to take the first detailed photos of caves on the Antrim coast, including those on the island of Rathlin where Bruce retreated in 1306.

Andy believe she has uncovered exactly where the King may have hidden - despite four other popular theories.

Another cave on Rathlin, named Bruce's Cave, and three on the Scottish coast have been identified as the site of the famous fable.

But Andy says Oweynagolman cavern, 50metres north of Bruce's Cave, is the most likely.

He said: "The earliest writings about Bruce's life come from the Archdeacon of Aberdeen John Barbour, in 1375, who says the King visited caves in Rathlin that were accessible from the shore.

"Bruce's Cave on the Rathlin map is accessible only by boat.

"That corner of the island is hit by a tide causing huge swells. If Bruce was in a hurry to hide, he would not have chosen that cave."

Andy, originally of Kilwinning, Ayrshire, but now living in Co Derry, claims Bruce was more likely to hide in Oweynagolman which can be waded to at low tide in spring.

He said: "Bruce was staying at the island's castle at that time so he would have visited the most accessible caves underneath the castle, including Oweynagolman."

Andy took the most detailed pictures of the cave yet.

He said: "I used a special technique known as high dynamic range imaging to make sure every nook and cranny was detailed in the photos.

"Five years ago this technology was not available."

In the cave, battle weary Bruce is reputed to have seen a spider trying to spin a thread before it finally succeeded on the seventh attempt.



Hidden gem: Oweynagolman cave on Rathlin Island. Below, a sketch of Bruce; Research: Andy; THE OTHER FOUR HIDEAWAYS CLAIMING THE HONOUR Must-see: King's Cave, near Blackwaterfoot on the Isle of Arran, is popular with tourists; High spot: King Robert the Bruce's Cave, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfriesshire, is 30ft up a cliff; Loch rock: Bruce Cave lies above Loch Voil at Craigruie in Balquhidder Glen, near Stirling; Water trap: Bruce's Cave on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland, can only be reached by boat
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 19, 2008
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