are many different stories of how the Thistle became
Scotland's symbol, ranging from a Danish raiding party
at Lancarty on the Tay, but most point seem to the
events surrounding the Battle of Largs in 1263. It
is generally forgotten that for more than 600 year most
of Scotland was part of the Kingdom of Norway, but by
1263 they a seemed to have little interest.
King Alexander III proposed to buy back the Western
Isles and Kintyre, still Norwegian territory.
However this re-awoke Norse interest and King Haakon IV
attacked with a large force, but was finally defeated at
Largs. At some point during the campaign the Norsemen
tried to surprise the Scots with a night attack.
They removed their footwear for a silent approach but
found themselves on ground covered with thistles.
It is said their leader trod on a thistle and cried out.
His shout warned the Scots who then saw off the the
Norsemen, thus saving Scotland. The role of the
thistle was understood, and was chosen as Scotland's
symbol henceforth, with the motto "Nemo me impune
lacessit", "No-one provokes me with impunity" but more commonly translated as "Wha
daurs meddle wi' me".