By Ron MacLeod
Battle Of Beallach Nam Brog, more like a sharp skirmish, occurred circa 1452. A small band of MacKenzies allies were defeated by vassals of Iain MacDonald, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, who were supported by Munros, Frasers and Dingwalls.
Although there may be confusion about the locale of the battle, there is none about the consequences. Although the small MacKenzie force was defeated the Munro, Frasers and Dingwalls lost a great many fighting men and a number of important leaders. In short, the battle served to remove some of MacKenzie's competitors from the scene. As a consequence, Alasdair Ionraic (Upright or Honest), 6th Chieftain of the Kintail family at the time of this battle, was able to set his Clan on their long road towards dominance in the north of Scotland.
Given the involvement of Munro of Foulis, the site of the battle is thought to have been at a pass just west of Ben Wyvis which is in the Munro country.
However, there is another account based on local tradition that suggests the battle was in the Glenmoriston area where there was a rough trail up into the hills that leads to Beallach nam Brog. However, the weight of such evidence as exists favours the Ben Wyvis area.
The Highland round targe (shield) had not been developed at this stage of history. It is reported that in preparation for the battle the western warriors bound their sandals around their breasts with their belts to protect themselves against arrows and sword cuts.
The ground of the piobaireachd is considered to be among the oldest; variations and other adornments appear to have been added much later in time.
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