In the summer of 1296, William Wallace received intelligence reports that Fenwick (the English knight who had murdered his father in 1291) would be commanding a convoy laden with gold and silver from the English garrisoned stronghold of Lanark to Ayr. The intelligence report was so comprehensive that Wallace even knew the exact date, route and strength of Fenwick's convoy, enabling him to plan a devastating attack.
Beneath the dramatic volcanic heights of Loudoun Hill, the track to Ayr narrows as it passes through a steep gorge, forcing any riders to pass at only two abreast. Wallace and his men further narrowed the track by forming a fake landslide, forcing subsequent riders to pass the obstacle in single file.
Taking cover, he and his men, all close family and friends, calmly waited for the patrol to arrive. At the given time, they sprang from their concealed positions as Fenwick and his convoy slowly passed the obstacle. By timing their ambush into separate and distinct phases, the attack turned into a rout.
This first mission as a leader, rather than acting alone, netted Wallace two hundred packhorses heavily laden with provisions and treasures, heavy cavalry horses, armour and weapons. Unfortunately, it cost the lives of three of his men, but out of one hundred and eighty men from Fenwick's convoy only eighty survived the ambush.
Soon the central lowlands of Scotland fairly buzzed with the news that fifty lightly armed Scotsmen had managed to shatter the myth of the invincibility of the English heavy cavalry.