It’s been seven years since film star Russell Crowe visited Duncarron in the Carron Valley hills, but his inspirational trip hasn’t been forgotten.
He was there to see the construction of an ambitious medieval village project, and even donated a battering ram used in the Ridley Scott blockbuster Robin Hood - where he played the famous Robin of Sherwood.
Now, as operators the Clanranald Trust prepare for next week’s Spirit of Duncarron medieval extragavanza (June 16 and 17), plans are being laid to name a tower at the site Crowe’s Tower.
Sited between Denny and Fintry, Duncarron mixes education and entertainment in a way arguably unmatched by any mainstream tourism venture.
Russell Crowe first met Clanranald Trust members during the filming of his massively successful “Gladiator” - in which he was Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius and they were a bunch of hairy Germanic barbarians.
Shared interests in ancient life and warfare piqued Crowe’s interest, and he made the Duncarron project a must-visit date during his first trip to Scotland.
The media and public attention he gave the scheme acted as a major boost, and the stockaded fortified village is now a permanent reminder of the days when bandits, wolves and savage enemy clans were never far from most front doors.
However Duncarron has had to fight a few challenging battles of its own in the bid to make it a permanent reminder of Scotland’s turbulent medieval past.
As reported in past editions of the Falkirk Herald it was attacked by vandals (as in modern criminals, not the north European early medieval tribe) in 2013 and 2015.
Hand-carved wooden horses, signs and adviced boards were pointlessly trashed by the cowardly raiders - but the project’s volunteers shrugged off the setback and worked harder than ever to bring the scheme back to life.
Meanwhile that battering ram - nicknamed Rosie - is still on site, and can be seen during Spirit of Duncannon next weekend.
The programme includes music spots from Clanranald troubadors Saor Patrol, and both days will feature activities ranging from brass rubbing and storytelling to archery, medieval cookery, and (inevitably) medieval weaponry.
Tickets are £10 for ages 16 years and over, £5 for ages 5 to 15 years, and under fives go free.
Visit http://www.duncarron.com/dun/spirit-of-duncarron-2018/ for further details.