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Saturday, 14 November 2015

The 2015 Challenge, day 14: Becoming a Leg End (4)

At the bottom of the hill I turned left through Dunnichen. As the road swings to the right, there is a memorial cairn on the left. It is marked on the map as "Meml", but I almost didn't go and take a closer look, assuming that it would be just another village war memorial. It didn't look like a war memorial, though ... and there was something intrigueing about it. So I went to have a closer look.

It was a simple cairn, with a cast bronze plaque on it. And this is what the plaque says: To Commemorate the 1300th anniversary of the battle of Nechtansmere 20 May 685 AD when the Picts, under King Brudei, decisively defeated the Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith.


My immediate reaction was actually one of profound disappointment. Today was the 21st of May, one day after the anniversary of the battle. One day earlier, and I could have been here on the actual anniversary. Moreover, my original plan bad BEEN to be here one day earlier - when I submitted my route, I said that the previous day's walk would take me to the outskirts of Letham, where I had spied a nice nettle place to pitch last time I came through here. It was only later I noticed the Foresterseat camp site and, on looking it up, discovered it had a licensed restaurant, and thought to myself "Hmmmmm ... a nice steak and a good red wine might go down very nicely indeed; why don't I stop short?". So I stopped short for the sake of a restaurant which in the event wasn't there, and in doing so missed passing the site of the Battle of Nechtansmere on the very anniversary (the 1,330th anniversary!!!) of the battle itself.

Only, of course, 20 May 2015 is NOT the 1,330th anniversary of 20 May 685, because once you unravel all the fiddling around that was done by the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 to correct for the incorrect computation of leap years, you'll find that it's a day or two out. But even so ...

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