What we didn’t see
We all booked our tickets online - at £22 a pop - and set off in jolly mood. The journey took about an hour and we should have foreseen problems when we neared Stirling, but decided they were related to the Armed Forces Day being celebrated nearby.
As we’d booked too late for our tickets to be posted, we searched around for some form of kiosk for ticket collection. Nothing. Eventually we were instructed to join a very lengthy queue buying tickets. It took one hour and 12 minutes to collect our tickets before we could enter the event. Some were ‘gasping’ for a coffee by then and queued for 15 minutes for the privilege. I won’t mention the price.
To cut a long story short, we never saw any of the enactments. We - again - queued for over two hours to enter the arena, when we noticed the cut-off point was way ahead of us. It was only by talking to others that we discovered a numbers for each event were restricted.
The poor weather contributed to our decision to cut and run. None of us fancied queuing longer in the hope we would see an enactment and one of the party was finding it hard going as she has limited ability walking. She had enquired about seating prior to booking and was told there would be plenty seating all around. Untrue.
What a shambles it was. So many, like the eight of us, left feeling despondent and one couple had travelled from Dornoch just to support a friend who was part of an enactment group. They left in obvious disgust.
Today the event organiser ‘apologised if anyone was inconvenienced’. How pathetic.
This could, and should, have been a splendid event particularly when £650,000 of taxpayers money was involved, but I should have done my homework more efficiently. What I hadn’t realised was that VisitScotland and the private company Unique Events were the organisers. With years of client experience with VisitScotland I know they are poor at organising anything other than a wee shindig in one of their favourites hotels - such as Gleneagles. Anything more is beyond their capabilities.
Bannockburn Live certainly wasn’t lively for our group. All that could be seen were queues and more queues. What a waste of £176. For a few pounds more we could have had an appetising afternoon tea in Cromlix House, Andy Murray’s hotel near Dunblane. There wouldn’t have been a queue in sight.