Dunnichen battle is not over

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Historic Scotland has moved to assure campaigners that Nechtansmere is still under consideration for inclusion on its inventory of battles which played a significant part in Scotland’s history, writes Janet Thomson.

That follows an approach by Angus South MSP, Graeme Dey, after reports the battleground near Letham had failed to make the second tranche of sites being considered for listing.

Readers may recall the Dispatch broke the news last February that the national body had carried out a consultation process as part of its project to produce a definitive inventory of historic battlefields, and the site outside Letham had been omitted.

Local historian Jim McGugan, along with Edinburgh-based Graeme Cruickshank, hit out at the decision and their views were further supported by the Dunnichen Heritage Society.

The society also wrote to the Historic Scotland Inspectorate stating it was “most disconcerting to find that the Battle of Dunnichen is not to be included in the inventory of historic battles.”

Giving an update on the situation last week, Graeme Dey said: “Following publication of the latest list of battles being looked at for possible inclusion in the inventory, from which Dunnichen was missing, I emailed Ruth Parsons the Chief Executive of Historic Scotland seeking clarification.

“I’m pleased to say Historic Scotland has responded quickly and confirmed that Nechtansmere is still being considered and we can expect an update towards the end of the year.”

In her response to Mr Dey, Ms Parsons explained that the list published a few days ago was a delayed carry over from the original consideration process conducted in the financial year 2010-11.

She said: “Our research for the group of sites that includes Dun Nechtain (also known as Nechtansmere or Dunnichen) is being carried out in the current financial year.

“This work has only recently begun and we will not be in a position to advise further before late November or early December.

“I hope this reassures you that our position has not changed from that promised.”