Sunday, 25 January 2015

In Search of a Battlefield - 7

A fortnight ago, on an equally dismal day, we discovered the point where the original Sanna track diverged from the present road, at point 'C' - see post here.  Assuming the MacDonald/MacLeod forces approached Mingary after landing on the beaches of Sanna, they would have followed this track but in the opposite direction.

We parked the car at 'C' and walked north-northwest (red arrows) following....

...what was clearly the trackway.  According to the map, the track then descended into a small glen and then climbed to cross the ridge of Sithean Mor through the gap visible in the centre distance of this photograph.

When we dropped into the first glen, low cloud was rolling across the heights of Beinn na h-Imeilte.  The glen showed some signs of previous agricultural use - bracken is usually a sign of soils that were once worked.

Once we'd climbed to it, from the gap in Sithean Mor we looked down into the wide valley of the Allt Uamha na Muice, with the Sanna road running along the far side.  By this time, although we knew we were still following the line of the track, there was no clear sign of it.

We turned to look southeast across what I have always assumed, perhaps wrongly, was the site of the battle, an area of low land with Creag an Airgid behind it.  The present Sanna road runs along the bottom of the hill.

Descending from Sithean Mor with Achnaha visible to our left front, we approached the Allt Uamha na Muice.  The present road crosses the burn upstream via a fairly substantial bridge so we had assumed we might not be able to cross it here, but it turned out to be running in a deep but confined bed, so even two seventy-year olds hopped across it without difficulty.  It would not, therefore, have offered any barrier to an advancing clan army.

Having followed the track almost as far as its meeting point with the road, we turned up the burn - route marked with orange arrows.  Despite the grey day, this was a lovely walk up a spectacular little burn which descends quite steeply in a series of waterfalls and rapids.

The finest of the waterfalls is this one, formed where it crosses a vertical barrier which acts like a natural dam, the top of which is almost a natural bridge: while we weren't prepare to try crossing it, someone a little more sprightly would have had no difficulty.

We returned to the car along the road, with the rain building.  All along the way we had kept a sharp eye open for any sign of the cairns raised after the battle.  While we found a cairn on Sithean Mor, it was alone and beside a field that had been worked, so was probably a field clearance cairn.  Our next exploration will be along the old Glendrian road.

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