26th July 1689: Dundee Comes to Blair Castle

Dundee leads the Jacobite army out of Badenoch early in the morning. They march south through Drumochter Pass and by early evening have halted just 3 miles short of Blair Castle. Lord John Murray receives word of this development and, hastily packing up his siege train, abandons his position and heads south to join MacKay. He orders 100 of his men to hold the narrow defile of Killiecrankie but holds little hope that this will be done. His men duly melt away.

By midnight Dundee has relieved the faithful Patrick Stewart and sits with the chieftains in the great hall of the Castle. The clan rendezvous is still three days away. He knows MacKay is probably only a day’s march south and that he will have to engage him with only the troops he has about him.

In the meantime, Cluny Macpherson, after months of ambivalence, determines on a firm course of action. He assembles his MacPhersons and heads south in Dundee’s wake. He will be too late to play any part in the battle but will not avoid being attainted with the rest of the Jacobite Clans.

General MacKay marches his redcoats north from Perth to Dunkeld. His primary concern is still to retake BlairCastle, recruit any forces in Atholl loyal to William and thence head north to find Dundee’s army.

At nightfall the 2 armies are camped less than 20 miles apart. The battle will be fought the next day.


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