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Conflicts of the Clans

The Conflict of Garbharry

The Queen Regent having gotten the Government of Scotland from the Earl of Arran, she made her progress into the North, and so to Inverness the year of God 1555. Then was Y Mackay (the son of Donald) summoned to compear before the Queen at Inverness, for that he had spoiled and molested the country of Sutherland during Earl John's being in France with the Queen Regent.

Mackay refused to compear, whereupon there was a commission granted to John, Earl of Sutherland, against him. Earl John invaded Strathnaver in all hostile manner, and besieged the Castle of Borve, the principal fort of that country, which he took by force, and caused hang the Captain, then demolished the fort. In end, he beset Y Mackay so, on all sides, that he forced him to render himself, and then was delivered by Earl John to Sir Hugh Kennedy, by whom he was conveyed South and committed to ward in the Castle of Edinburgh, where he remained a long space.

Whilst Y Mackay staid in captivity, his cousin-german John Mor Mackay, took upon him the government of Strathnaver. This John Mor taking the occasion of Earl John's absence in the south of Scotland, he invaded Sutherland with a company of the most resolute men in Strathnaver; they burnt the chapel of St. Ninian's in Navidell, where the inhabitants of the country, upon this sudden tumult, had conveyed some of their goods; so, having spoiled that part of the country, they retire homeward.

The inhabitants of Sutherland assembled together, and followed in all haste under the conduct of MacJames, the Terell of the Doil, and James MacWilliam. They overtook the Strathnaver men at the foot of the hill called Beinn-mhor, in Berriedale, and invaded them beside the water of Garbharry, where then ensued a cruel conflict, fought with great obstinacy. The Strathnaver men were overthrown and chased; about 120 of them were slain, and some drowned in Garbharry. This is the last conflict that hath been fought betwixt Sutherland and Strathnaver.


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