BOTH North Yorkshire and County Durham contain locations that carry identical names.

In both counties, for example, we can find Stillington, Stockton, Heworth, Ingleton, Dalton, Easington, Rainton, Hutton and others. Similarly, North Yorkshire alone has many villages which duplicate their names within its own boundaries - Aislaby, Danby, Thornton, Middleton, Newton and Hutton are just a few examples.

Among them is the famous location called Scotch Corner. North Yorkshire boasts a pair of Scotch Corners, one extremely well-known to travellers on the Great North Road, or A1 as it became known (with parts now called A1M). The other is not so well-known because it lies in a quiet location along a track to the south-east of Sutton Bank near Thirsk, just above the village of Oldstead. It is less than a mile from the famous Kilburn White Horse and is sometimes known as Scots Corner.

This isolated place is the site of a famous battle known as The Battle of Scotch Corner. Its alternative name is the Battle of Byland and it was fought between the Scots and English on October 14, 1322. At the time, England was under attack by Robert Bruce and his army. The Scots had savagely conquered the border counties, burning towns and villages while plundering the abbeys of Melrose, Holyrood and Dryburgh.

The English army, led by the ineffectual King Edward II, lost some 20,000 men, not through fighting, but through disease, hunger and bad management. The reputation of the king was in ruins as he fled south with his tattered troops and they managed to find refuge on the Hambleton Hills, not far from Byland Abbey. Edward sent for reinforcements, but Robert Bruce quickly discovered his whereabouts. He set off in pursuit and burnt several more towns on the way, including Northallerton.

While awaiting reinforcements, Edward spent his time drinking, feasting, hunting and merrymaking, but Robert Bruce did not wait; he found the English camp and promptly attacked it. For a time, the English response was superior because they were on the hill above Oldstead and able to fire arrows and throw rocks directly onto the enemy below. Unfortunately, however, the English had left their rear ranks unprotected and a detachment of Scots succeeded in an attack from part of the hill above Edward's army. This sent the English into utter panic.

Edward found a horse and fled for his life, riding non-stop to Bridlington as the victorious Scots ransacked Byland and Rievaulx abbeys before heading for York. It was an ignominious defeat for the hapless king, but he blamed one of his supporters, the Earl of Carlisle, for not producing the necessary reinforcements in time. He had Carlisle stripped of his knighthood and ordered that his body be hacked into a thousand pieces. Since 1322, therefore, that lonely battlefield has been known as Scotch or Scots Corner.

Rather appropriately, the site is now marked by a small chapel created from a ruined farm building in the 1950s. Dedicated to the dead of the Second World War, it is the work of a sculptor, the late John Bunting, who was a friend of mine, and it contains the recumbent figure of a soldier. The chapel is now maintained by the pupils of Ampleforth Abbey and College.

According to some information on the internet, however, the Battle of Scotch Corner occurred near the site of the other Scotch Corner, which is at the junction of the A66 and A1. There may have been a battle nearby, but many centuries passed before the location became known as Scotch Corner.

It took place in either AD 69 or 71 at Stanwick St John, just off the B6274 near Winston, some distance from Scotch Corner. Within the space of a mere 20 years, the Brigantian settlement at Stanwick grew from seven acres to more than 700. This huge complex contained little more than cattle and houses; clearly, its size would have made it difficult to defend and it is doubtful whether "fortress" is an apt description.

Although some reports suggest this was the last decisive battle between the Brigantians and the Romans, others suggest it was more of a bloodless coup. The lack of defences made it easy for the Roman Ninth Legion to take up residence, probably with consent by the inhabitants, although one report says the Brigantian king, Venutius, was killed.

Since then, excavations around Stanwick have discovered some beautiful art work, including the face of a bronze horse and other artefacts. But should this battle - if indeed it was one - be described as The Battle of Scotch Corner? I am not sure when the name Scotch Corner was first used for the nearby road junction. Certainly it does not appear on maps of Roman Britain, but since Roman times and into medieval Britain, the former A1 and A66 were both major routes, being extensively used by cattle drovers. The junction was known as Scotch Corner when surveys for the first Ordnance Survey maps were undertaken between 1846 and 1855, and the famous hotel was operating years earlier. One likelihood is that the name arose because it marked the dividing point for processions of cattle heading north into Scotland and those turning west towards the Lake District.

So were there battles of two Scotch Corners, or merely one? I thank my correspondent from Stanwick St John, near Richmond, for raising this interesting topic and providing some of the background.

Another correspondent has written from Crakehall, near Bedale, concerning my reported sighting of a speckled wood butterfly (D&S Times, September 29 and October 20).

Following my first report, a reader sent an email to say he had seen speckled wood butterflies around the Yarm and Saltburn areas which, as he suggested, indicated the species was now establishing itself further north than hitherto. My Crakehall correspondent adds to this by noting one in her Wensleydale garden towards the end of September, so it would seem these charming small insects are steadily making themselves at home in this region. It will be interesting to see what next year produces.

My Crakehall correspondent also adds that she noticed a Brimstone yellow butterfly in her garden during the summer. These are interesting insects because it is said the term 'butterfly' was first used to describe them - since then, the name continues to be used for a huge variety of insects we know as butterflies. In time, of course, the name butterfly for this insect was changed to brimstone, which is the colour of sulphur.

Brimstones are fairly widespread, especially in the south, where they may appear as early as February and remain with us well into October or November. They love to pollinate primroses, where their colour makes them almost invisible, and their heavily pronounced wing veins also make them nearly invisible when resting with wings folded on holly leaves, their favourite plant for hibernation.

I have a small observation to make about wheelie bins. Like most people, we have two wheelie bins, a brown one for garden waste and a green one for general household refuse. We also have blue plastic bags for newspapers and magazines, and a green box to accommodate empty glass bottles and jars, as well as tins. In our village we get lots of holidaymakers renting cottages, and care workers who arrive daily to minister to elderly people. In their council districts, the bin colours differ from ours and that confuses them. One must wonder why, throughout the country, all our recycling bins and containers are not identical colours? It would prevent a lot of confusion and would help in our massive public attempt to recycle