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JULY 24, 1411

Cameron of Lochiel's Own Website

Donald Dubh, XI Captain and Chief of Clan Cameron, rose in support of Donald, 2nd Lord of the Isles in his rebellion of 1411.  At the heart of this conflict was land.  Robert, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had laid claim to the Earldom of Ross, even though Donald of the Isles had the better claim.  Needless to say, Donald disputed the Regent's actions.  He raised a large force from amongst his own Clan Donald and from his vassals and followers (amongst whom were Donald Dubh and the Camerons) met the forces of the Regent Albany at Harlaw, near Aberdeen.

The kilted army came down from the Highlands more like a  party of marauders rather than a polished force - little did it matter, since their size was reported to be 10,000 men.  They descended to Benochie, near the Don, in Aberdeenshire.  This hill, a sort of bastion of the Grampians abutting into the Lowlands, has a vantage point over the entire coutryside.  Arriving at Harlaw, which was flat moor edging up to the rise of the hill, the Highlanders met those who had come to guard the entrance to the low country.  The Highland charge met a compact body of men-at-arms and spearmen who held their own firmly.  Wave after wave crashed against the spearmen, with heavy damage on both sides.

The Battle of Harlaw ("Red Harlaw")  is remembered as being a particularly bloody affair.  The result was indecisive, for casualties were so heavy on each side that they could fight no more.  It is recorded that many of Donald Dubh's Cameron followers were killed at Harlaw, although specific numbers were not recorded.  Donald of the Isles' forces, joined by Donald Dubh and the remainder of Clan Cameron, had to withdraw the army and retire to their own country.