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Conflicts of the Clans

The Conflicts of Allt_Camhna and Leckmelm

The year of God, 1585, George, Earl of Caithness, married the Earl of Huntley's sister; at which time, by Huntley's mediation, the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness were reconciled. It was then concluded among them that the Clan Gunn should be pursued and invaded by the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness, because they were judged to be the chief authors of the troubles which were then like to ensue; and to this effect it was resolved that two companies of men should be sent by the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness against such of Clan Gunn as dwelt in Caithness, thereby to compass them, that no place of retreat might be left unto them, which was done.

The Earl of Sutherland's company was conducted by John Gordon of Backies and James MacRorie; the Earl of Caithness's company was conducted by his cousin, Henry Sinclair -- a resolute gentleman. It happened that Henry Sinclair and his company rencountered first with the Clan Gunn, who were now assembled together at a hill called Bingrime, and with them was William Mackay (brother to Hugh Mackay of Strathnaver, and nephew to this Henry Sinclair, that led the Caithness men) who was accompanied with some Strathnaver men.

Now were the Clan Gunn advertised of this preparation made against them; and no sooner were they in sight of one another but they prepared both for the fight, which was begun without fear or delay on either side. The Clan Gunn, although inferior in number, yet they had the advantage of the hill, by reason of which the Caithness men came short with their first flight of arrows; by the contrary, the Clan Gunn spared their shot until they came hard by the enemy, which then they bestowed among them with great advantage. Then ensued a sharp conflict, at a place called Allt-gamhna, where Henry Sinclair was slain with 120 of his company, and the rest chased and put to flight, who had all been destroyed had not the darkness of night favoured their flight.

Which, coming to the ears of John Gordon, James MacRorie and Neil MacIan-MacWilliam, who had the conduct of the Earl of Sutherland's men, they pursued the Clan Gunn, and followed them to Lochbroom, in the height of Ross, whither they had fled; and then, meeting with them, they invade them at a place called Leckmelm. After a sharp skirmish, the Clan Gunn were overthrown, and chased, 32 of them slain, and their Captain, George, wounded and taken prisoner, whom they carry along with them unto Dunrobin, and there they deliver him unto Alexander, Earl of Sutherland. This happened in the year of God, 1586.


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