Thursday, 29 November 2012

In Search of a Battlefield - 4

This cairn stands on the southern slope of Druim Liath, the grey (or blue) ridge, just inside the Ardnamurchan Estate boundary fence.  That it's man-made is undoubted, and old, and it's curious that the bracken, which grows in profusion around it, leaves it alone.  It could well be a burial cairn.

The hill in the right distance is Creag an Airgid, the silver crag, below the slopes of which a great battle is described as being fought in 1519 between the MacIains, the lairds of Ardnamurchan, and the MacDonalds.  For some time we have been searching for evidence of this battle - see earlier posts here, here and here - in particular for signs of the two cairns raised after it, a smaller one over the MacIain chief and his two sons, and a larger over the bulk of the MacIain fighters.  Our previous searches produced little joy.

If the battle took place immediately to the west of Creag an Airgid, as is suggested by historical records and accounts from people like MEM Donaldson, then this cairn is well behind MacDonald lines.   Yet this looks very like a burial cairn.

Several possibilities come to mind.  One is that the battle took place close by the cairn.  The MacIains could have chosen the spot as their right flank would have been protected by the steep slope of Druim Liath, and their left by the deep ravine of the Allt Uamha na Muice burn.  Another is that this could have been where the MacDonalds buried their fallen.  And a third, of course, that this cairn has nothing to do with the battle.

There's an interactive map of the area here.

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