Battle site of Nechtansmere (685) **

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This battle, also known as the battle of Dun Nechtain was supposedly fought between Brude mac Beli, King of Pictland, and Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, on 20th May 685. The Northumbrians were routed, Ecgfrith was slain and Northumbrian expansion came to a grinding halt. Supposedly because no archaeological remains of the battle have been recovered in the area.

Nevertheless it is generally accepted that the battle did take place and as such it was one of the most important battles in all Scottish history. The defeat of the Angles of Northumbria was so great that they had to give up all further attempts to move deeper into Pict territory. As Bede wrote in his History, ‘their kingdom thereafter had narrower bounds’. Naturally, the Picts were resolved to stop further encroachment upon their lands. Those Anglian leaders who survived must have thought it best to settle for what they had achieved so far, and that was the territory between the Forth and Hadrian’s Wall. But what it did mean was that Scotland was not to become an extension of England. It was a major check on English ambitions north of Lothian. If the victory had gone to the southerners, there might never have been a Scotland at all!

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