As we leave ‘Camien Cafe’ we turn left and ride our way to Otterburn, the site of our first battle, the battle of Otterburn that took place in 1388. Just as we are getting close to Otterburn you will discover on your left the entrance to the area reputed to be the battle site Battle of Otterburn
The Battle of Otterburn took place on 19 August 1388, as part of the continuing border war between England and Scotland. Partly fought in the moonlight, it was a victory for the Scots, led by James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas over Harry Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland. Douglas was killed in the battle, though his victory added to the prestige of his house, foremost among the border fighters of Scotland.
When the latest truce with England ended in the high summer of 1388 the Scots began attacks on both the western and eastern borders, taking advantage of growing divisions between the Percys and the Nevilles, the English wardens. In August the Earl of Douglas led a particularly bold move against the port of Newcastle. This was risky as he was not equipped to carry out a siege. Newcastle was one of the main muster points for English troops in the north, so it was likely there would be more soldiers inside the town defending than outside attacking and with the Earl of Northumberland at Alnwick, there was always a danger that his retreat would be cut off. But the very audacity of Douglas’ move had the effect of convincing the English that his force was only the vanguard of a much larger army close by. Frequent skirmishes took place at the outer defences of the western wall. In the account of Jean Froissart, Douglas is said to have captured Hotspur’s own pennon, though this story reads as if it has been added to provide some romantic colour, a technique in which the chronicler excels.