22nd July 1689: Both Armies Move Out

General MaKay, ensconced in Edinburgh, has considered his options.  Blair Atholl is a big concern to him. While Lord John Murray is staunchly Williamite his followers are by no means as reliable. By McKay’s calculations there are 1500 fencible men up for grabs by either side in that area. BlairCastle is key to free passage between the northern and southern highlands and this is now held for Dundee, albeit with Murray besieging it. So, abandoning his original plan of joining the Earl of Argyll in the west, McKay strikes north for Stirling with BlairCastle his immediate objective. He has 4000 redcoat soldiery at his back.

Dundee has now been joined in Lochaber by Lochiel, Glengarry and the Sleat MacDonalds. The final rendezvous for all those who have not yet joined the standard is set for Blair Atholl on 29th July. Dundee’s intention is to make his way there not by the most direct route but by that which will allow him to recruit as many fighting men as he can. In the meantime he knows Patrick Stewart will need some support in holding BlairCastle so he orders Sir Alexander MacLean to break off his siege of McKay’s ally, the Master of Forbes at CraigievarCastle, and make haste to Blair with his 400 men to assist in holding that fortress.

Then, on 22nd July, Dundee’s army breaks camp and moves out of Lochaber heading to Badenoch and Castle Cluny.

Killiecrankie, the climactic battle of the campaign is 5 days away.

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