Heritage society backs site battle

DUNNICHEN Heritage Society has joined the fight against Historic Scotland’s decision not to include the site of the Battle of Dunnichen in its inventory of historic battles.

The secretary of the society - formed to ‘investigate, promote and preserve the history, spiritual roots and heritage of Dunnichen and the surrounding district’ - has written to the Historic Scotland Inspectorate to say “it is most disconcerting to find that the Battle of Dunnichen is not to be included in the Inventory of Historic Battles.

“The Battle of Dunnichen is well documented. It is also the most obvious site for the battle. The name Dunnichen means the dun or fort of Nechtan. Nechtan was the Pictish leader or King who fought at the battle of Dunnichen.”

The letter also pointed out a small piece of Anglo-Saxon harness was found south-east of Forfar, within three miles of the site.

It continued: “The harness pre-dates the battle but such harness would be passed from one generation to another as one would do with any important heirloom.

“There was, too, an axe found at Kingsmuir, which is under two miles from the site.

“The Battle of Dunnichen was the seminal one, leading to the emergence of the Scottish Nation, with the defeat of the Northumbrians.

“It could be said that it is, in fact, the most important battle in our history and has the right to be included in the inventory.”

Last week we reported on the efforts of Letham man Jim McGugan to gain national recognition of the importance of the site.

He said: “The importance of this pivotal battle is a view held by many historians. They claim that, had the Picts lost, this country might have been ... England.”

Edinburgh based Scottish-historian Graeme Cruickshank has also contacted Historic Scotland Inspectorate.

He said: “There must be concerted action to ensure its inclusion which is essential a) to assist in the preservation of the battle-site from the continued threat of commercial development and b) to gain a much higher public profile nationally for the Battle of Dunnichen, which it so richly merits.”