We took a walk in the Borders, up to the Three Brethren, near Selkirk. Here’s the WalkScotland route.
Despite having a forty-year-old OS map, which gave details of forrest plantations long gone, and missing several recently created tracks, we didn’t get lost once, no, not at all.
We didn’t get lost mainly because I refused to take directions from The Map Reader (who, as usual, wishes to remain anonymous), who pointed way to the west of the ‘correct’ direction (to explain, she was actually pointing out an alternate route mentioned here), and instead we took a (more or less) direct route starting from Yarrowford, mainly up no paths at all apart from at the beginning. The hills are very dry this year, so this was no problem.
An excellent walk! Wonderful views of the hills in the Borders. At times, we were walking along old drove roads. We could look over to Newark Castle, once owned by the Black Douglases.
The Three Brethren
In the distance, the Eildon Hills
The Three Brethren are well constructed cairns that were erected at the start of the 16th century by the lairds of Yair, Selkirk and Philiphaugh to mark the boundary of their land.
After the walk, on the way back to Selkirk, we passed the site of the Battle of Philiphaugh, 13 September 1645, fought between the Scottish and the English and the English and the Scottish (as usual, it was complicated, especially so as the Marquess of Montrose, who was in charge of one side, had previously switched sides). The Irish and the Highlanders were also involved, because in those times they hated to miss out on a good battle, though most of the MacDonalds had deserted Montrose, because they were worried about what the Campbells were doing whilst they were away. More or less the same groups were still at it (fighting) a hundred years later, in 1745. Wikipedia states that: Today the (most likely site of the) battlefield is home to Selkirk Cricket Club. No jokes here about sticky wickets, then.
After the battle, 100 royalist followers of the Marquis of Montrose (mostly Irish) were shot in the barmkin of Newark Castle. Montrose had previously escaped, and he went on to also escape in 1650 after his forces were defeated at the Battle of Carbisdale in Ross-shire.
After that battle, according to Wikipedia: he was surrendered by Neil MacLeod of Assynt at Ardvreck Castle, to whose protection, in ignorance of MacLeod’s political enmity, he had entrusted himself. He was brought a prisoner to Edinburgh, and on 20 May sentenced to death by the parliament. He was hanged on the 21st, with Wishart’s laudatory biography of him around his neck.
But, according to this Wiki entry, MacLeod had been away at the time that Montrose sought his help at Ardvreck, and it was actually MacLeod’s wife, Christian Monro, who put Montrose in the dungeon, though MacLeod (who had served with Montrose at the siege of Inverness in 1645) saw which way the wind was blowing and eventually took the credit for arresting Montrose.
Anyway, soon after Montrose was hung, when the Scottish Argyll Government switched sides to support Charles II, Montrose was officially rehabilitated in the public memory, his: mangled torso was disinterred from the gallows ground on the Burgh Muir and carried under a velvet canopy to the Tolbooth, where his head was reverently removed from the spike, before the procession continued on its way to Holyrood Abbey.
Sir Lachlan Maclean, whose mother was the daughter of Colin Mackenzie of Kintail, and who married Mary MacLeod, the second daughter of Sir Roderick Macleod of Macleod, had previously been a supporter of Montrose, up until the Battle of Kilsyth (15th August 1645 – a month before the Battle of Philiphaugh (see above)) when he went home.
And you thought that Game of Thrones was complicated!
I’ve written elsewhere on this blog about battles involving Macleans, Mackenzies, MacDonalds, MacLeods and Munros. What I’ve noticed is that the MacLeod chief was rarely in the exact place at the exact time when important things happened.