THE SCOTS ON THEIR MILITARY EXPEDITIONS
"THE Scots are bold, hardy, and much inured to war. When they make their invasions into England, they march from twenty to four-and-twenty leagues without halting, as well by night as day; for they are all on horseback, except the camp-followers, who are on foot. The knights and esquires are well mounted on large bay horses, the common people on little galloways. They bring no carriages with them, on account of the mountains they have to pass in Northumberland;
neither do they carry with them any provisions of bread or wine; for their habits of sobriety are such, in time of war, that they will live for a long time on flesh half sodden, without bread, and drink the river water without wine. They have, therefore, no occasion for pots or pans; for they dress the flesh of their cattle in the skins, after they have taken them off; and, being sure to find plenty of them in the country which they invade, they carry none with them.
Under the Haps of his saddle, each man carries a broad plate of metal ; behind the saddle, a little bag of oatmeal: when they have eaten too much of the sodden flesh, and their stomach appears weak and empty, they place this plate over the fire, mix with water their oatmeal, and when the plate is heated, they put a little of the paste upon it, and make a thin cake, like a cracknel or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs: it is therefore no wonder, that they perform a longer day's march than other soldiers."
Translated from Froissart, Chronicles, vol. i. chap. 17.
Jean Froissart (c1337-c1400) a Frenchman, visited Scotland during the reign (1329-71) of King David II.
Early Travellers in Scotland. edited by Peter Hume Brown. 1891
©2014 Patricia Bixler Reber