Saturday, 30 May 2015

Battlefields along the West Highland Way

During our 8 day 96 mile trek along the West Highland Way we walked through a couple of battle fields which inspired me. Below is a photo I took of Inverlochy.

This was on our last day of the walk between Kinlochleven and Fort William, there was a memorial and battle plaque describing the events. It was great to walk through history and also to remember when Ian stole a sure victory from me when we played this out using POWR which even today I still doubt he can believe!

We also stumbled on the battle field of Dalrigh just shy of a place on the way called Tyndrum. I had not heard of this battle before so it was great to walk through the place.

Here is a brief of what took place here.......

When Bruce reached Strathfillan, just to the south of Tyndrum around a thousand MacDougalls were there to meet him, led by the son of Alexander the chief John of Lorne (also known as ‘John the Lame). Bruce was trapped! With Valence pursuing him and the MacDougalls blocking his path he was forced to fight. Bruce and his men were not prepared for battle and the result was a foregone conclusion. What few horses Bruce still had were cut down by the MacDougall axemen and many of his most valued allies such as Sir James Douglas and Gilbert Hey were wounded during the engagement. This rather fanciful poem gives account of the battle:
They thereupon withdrew. In this
There was no mark of cowardice.
They kept together; and the king
Was ever busy rescuing
The rearmost of his company.
With skill and valour there wrought he,
And safely all his men withdrew.
He daunted those that would pursue
So none durst leave their cloe array,
For he was never far away.
The fighting was desperate for Bruce, at one point cut off from his allies he was fighting alone against a small lochan. A MacDougall man attempted to pull Bruce from his horse by grabbing his cloak. Bruce killed him but lost his cloak in so doing. The dead MacDougall was found later still grasping the cloak with Bruce’s brooch still attached. This brooch is still in the possession of the clan to his day.
Bruce and a handful of men escaped with their lives. His army was now non-existent and he fled to the caves and into the history books!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Russ and I didn't know the above either. We should refight the Montrose v Covenantor battles, I've got a much better shore for the loch than I had back then.