So in last week’s post I talked about the basket-hilted Scottish broadsword. I noted that this sword became popular after armour was obsolete, which meant it was more likely my hero would carry a weapon he could use effectively against an armoured foe.

So Lyram now carries a basket-hilted broadsword as a clan relic and a claymore for battle.

This all led to another question – how do you carry a claymore? The things are huge. Taller than me, even. OK, I’m not that tall, but I’m not that short either.

Presumably it needed to be carried on the back, but I didn’t know the answer, so I looked it up.

And I learned a few things.

It is exceedingly difficult to draw a claymore from a back sheath without removing or severely damaging one’s own head. Uh, maybe not a good idea.

It is arguably even more difficult to put it back in the sheath without being able to see what one was doing.

This meant claymores were carried one of two ways. Either in a back sheath where the shoulder harness could be easily dropped off to allow the sword to be drawn without decapitating oneself, or more simply in the hand.

But wait, it gets more complicated.

Apparently it wasn’t unknown for the sheath to ‘grip’ these swords. I haven’t found a good reason why, but I suspect this was a problem common to many swords. It presented a particular difficulty with the claymore because the thing was so damn big that holding the sheath in one hand and levering the blade clear with the other wasn’t easy.

So many swordsmen who carried these beasts of war also had a man filling a squire-type function, who would carry the claymore for the warrior, and/or assist him to unsheathe it as needed.

So what I thought was a relatively simple question turned out to be quite complex.

And the moral of the story: don’t cut your own head off drawing your sword.