ScotWars - Scottish Military History and Re-enactment
Fyvie Castle to Blair Atholl
Fyvie Castle to Blair Atholl

The Royalist army arrived at Fyvie Castle on the 28th October 1644. Since raising the Royal Standard at Blair Atholl on August the 30th 1644, the army had defeated the Covenanters at Tippermuir and Aberdeen, they had also been constantly on the move. Following Aberdeen they had returned to Blair Atholl only to set out once again marching eastwards and north in an attempt to raise support for the Royal cause. Montrose had entered the lands of the Gordon’s hoping that their Chief the Marquis of Huntly would join them. Once again however he was to be disappointed and pressed by the Covenant forces of the Duke of Argyll he fell back to Fyvie.
At Fyvie the Royal army was attacked by the Covenanters, however despite being heavily outnumbered they repulsed the attacks. Realising that to remain would ultimately mean defeat the Royal army skilfully withdrew from Fyvie and marched to Balvenie Castle arriving on the 6th of November. Unable to raise the troops he had hoped Montrose withdrew once again down the Spey valley to Grantown, and on to Rothiemurcus. News that Argyll was at Dunkeld led the Royal army into an attempt to catch him there. Marching with great speed across the western edge of Cairngorms across “Giack” mountain pass they covered 24 miles in one night. It was however to no avail as when they reached Blair Atholl they learnt that Argyll had withdrawn from Dunkeld at some speed towards Perth.

Three months of campaigning had brought three victories but not the popular support that Montrose had hoped for, however his spirits were revived at Blair Atholl with the return of Alasdair MacColla the commander of the Irish brigade and much needed reinforcements from the west. Any thoughts of wintering at Blair Atholl were quickly dispelled by Alasdair’s return, inactivity would mean that the highland recruits would return to their homes whilst MacColla’s Irish regulars had many scores to settle with the sworn enemy the Duke of Argyll. Montrose wanted to march south, the army west, into Argyll’s lands, it was the army that won the day.



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