By Oliver Farrimond
A DEVASTATING weapon from Scotland’s murky medieval past has suffered a “flat tyre” – despite not having been fired in more than 300 years.
The huge Mons Meg siege cannon terrorised castle-dwellers as the latest in battle technology in the 15th Century, but years of quietly sitting on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle appear to have taken their toll.
The enormous weight of the “supergun” – around eight tons – has distorted a metal band around one of the wheels and now experts are using mini-cranes to examine the damage.
Work is expected to take between a week and 10 days to complete, after which the monster cannon will resume its silent watch over the Capital.
Hugh Morrison, Historic Scotland collections registrar, said: “This was the supergun of its era and it’s one of a kind, so we take very good care of her with regular checks and maintenance.
“As she is so large we are having to set up special lifting gear to hoist her off the carriage.
“But once that’s done we’ll be able to check her over any carry out any conservation work that’s needed, and put on some new protective paint as required.
“One job that has to be done is to knock a metal rim on one of the wheels back into shape as it has bent out of shape from the enormous weight of the gun.”
Forged in 1449, the cannon was originally a present to King James II, and could fire 330lb shot more than two miles.
Mons Meg was last heard in 1681, when it was fired to celebrate the birthday of the future King James VII – but the barrel burst and the cannon has been quiet ever since.