Tuesday 2 August 2011

A Clan Battle fought at Lagan a’ Chatha

Glenlyon, Perthshire / Gleann Lìomhann, Siorramachd Pheairt
Highland history is replete with legendary accounts of clan battles from small skirmishes to large-scale fights. Outright violence or the mere threat of violence in the Highlands never seems to have been too far away but for the fact that this would be overstating the case. Perhaps such an image was partly inspired by the Highlanders martial spirit which was very much to the fore particularly because of their famous regiments which pushed, kept control and consolidated the boundaries of the British Empire. Be that as it may, in comparison to the Lowlands of an earlier period, blood-feuds were more or less on par with those that took place in the Highlands. It is rather surprising that Alexander Carmichael did not take down more than he did about the legendary accounts of clan battles for they were the stock in trade of most reciters who had any kind of historical bent. This example, set in Perthshire (specifically Glenlyon), was taken down by Carmichael from an unnamed source and name-checks those clans that held sway in this part of the Highlands:

Gleann Li-un
Cama ghleann du[bh] nan clach.
32 miles long. Battle fo[ugh]t between
the Robertson Campbells & Mac
Gregor & the Clann Imhear.
Killed the Macivors out[right?]. They then
went to Breadalbane. The Mac
grigors came down from Bun
rainich. They battle at Lagan
a chatha & stopped at Ceann
Chnoc at Cainis nan cam.
The men washed themselves
& arms at Ford Li’un & the river
ran red with blood. There
a man said. Bho la[tha] nighe
nan arm bith Li’un mar
ainm air Diubh. Srath
Dubh-uisg. Where the
river ran before – silent water
remains there still –
where the river ran before.
My informant killed two otters
here with one shot.

CW1/38, f. 11v.
Image: Glenlyon, Perthshire / Gleann Lìomhann, Siorramachd Pheairt.

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Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4

Stone whorls WHM 1992 13 2.4
Stone whorls collected by Alexander Carmichael, held by West Highland Museum (ref. WHM 1992 13 2.4). [© carstenflieger.com]