Following an abortive attempt to regain the throne for the deposed Stuarts in 1708, a Jacobite Army, comprised mainly of Highland Clansmen and commanded by the inexperienced John Erskine, Earl of Mar marched southwards to attempt a link up with English Jacobites.
In order to counter this emerging Jacobite threat, the Hanoverian regime sent a Government Army, under the command of John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, north to block the Jacobite march. After some ineffective manoeuvrings on both sides, the two opposing armies met on the desolate field of Sheriffmuir on 13 November 1715.
Despite having a distinct numerical superiority over the Government Army, the Jacobites failed to push home their advantage. What followed was a confused (but bloody) encounter from which both sides claimed victory. This sentiment is summed up in the oft-quoted satirical account of the battle:
'Some say that we wan and some say that they wan
And some say that nane won at a', man.
But one thing I'm sure that at Sheriffmuir
A battle was there which I saw man.
And we ran and they ran, and they ran and we ran
And we ran and they ran awa' man.'
In the end, the battle proved a strategic success for Argyll and the Government Army, as the Jacobites were unable to link up with their English brethren and were forced to retreat northwards towards Perth, thus bringing to an end another failed Jacobite Rising.
The event began with some brief words from the Clan Macrae Association at the imposing monument to the fallen men of the Clan who were present at Sheriffmuir on that cold day in November 1715. Clan Macrae suffered severe casualties fighting with their Jacobite comrades and the fitting memorial to their bravery was erected in 1915.
Wreaths consisting of White Roses, a well known symbol of the Jacobites, were laid at the memorial by members of the Clan Macrae Association and others who wished to do so.
Following a moving rendition of 'Flowers of the Forest' by a very talented local piper, the ceremony moved to the adjacent memorial stone, laid by the 1745 Association. Here, prayers were said in the driving rain and flowers were laid at the base of the stone.
Attendees were then invited for a special service at the ancient 'Gathering Stone' which is alternatively marked as (depending on which legend you believe!) the place where the Jacobite or Government Army rallied prior to the Battle of Sheriffmuir. Whatever the truth of the matter, both sides were well represented last week, including the current Earl of Mar and those who were there to honour the fallen Government troops. All were invited to lay flowers at the impressive Gathering Stone and more prayers were said, followed by a moving pipers lament.
It was an extremely 'wet' journey, to say the least! But we were honoured to be there to witness this important anniversary commemoration.
We then headed back for shelter...and a warming drink!
You can see more photos and videos of our day at the 300th Anniversary on our Twitter, Vine and Facebook pages.
As an important location in the history of the Jacobite Risings, the battlefield at Sheriffmuir is an included stop on our very popular 'Jacobites in Perthshire' tour option! Please see our Tour Options page for details and we'll hopefully have the pleasure of escorting you on your own Outlandish Journey very soon!