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Strathdearn Community Website

(Ruaig na Maighe)

Around midnight on 16th/17th February 1746, Lord Loudon, the Commander of the Hanoverian forces in the north, mustered 1500 troops from the Inverness Garrison and set off on the twelve mile march south along General Wade’s Road to Moy in a bid to capture Prince Charles Edward Stuart. The prince, a guest of Lady Anne Mackintosh (Colonel Anne) at Moy Hall, had arrived with a small guard of 50 men, some distance ahead of his retreating Highland Army.

Pitch darkness interspersed with flashing lightning slowed and unsettled the marching men.

Watching the road here, 3 miles from Moy Hall, was an ‘outer guard’ of just five Jacobites led by Donald Fraser, the Moy Blacksmith. He had chosen a spot where he could observe movement on the skyline to the north in darkness, and where he had cover to the south in daylight. Nearby to the east, peat stacks remained out on the moor. Here he planned to harass, and perhaps deceive, the enemy.

As the Hanoverian Column, spearheaded by the Laird of MacLeod and his men approached in the darkness, they were surprised by sudden musket fire and loud war cries urging clansmen to battle. Even the peat stacks threatened in the flashing lightning. Convinced that the whole Highland Army was at hand, Loudon’s men turned in panic and fled back to Inverness, somehow carrying off the body of Donald Ban MacCrimmon, Piper to MacLead and the only fatality of the night. A premonition of his imminent death had been realised.

This skirmish took place two months prior to the Battle of Culloden. Donald Fraser died in 1804 and lies buried in Moy Churchyard.

The above information is displayed at the Cairn.


On the cold, dull but dry afternoon of Saturday l6th April, a sizeable crowd of over 200 people attended the unveiling of a new cairn making the site of the skirmish known as "The Rout of Moy".

This event was organised mainly by Donald MacAskill of Tomatin, James Ingram of Aberdeen, and James and Elma Singer of Ellon, with valuable assistance from Brian Duff of Forest Enterprise. Building work was carried out by Murdo MacAskill, Fred Jamison and Willie MacAskill, all of Inverness.

The unveiling ceremony was preceded by a stirring demonstration of drumming skills by the Clann an Drumma (4 drummers and a piper) from Glasgow.

During the ceremony wreaths were laid in memory of Donald Ban MacCrimmon, and a one minute silence was observed.

After the ceremony Donald MacAskill thanked the following people for their participation:-

HRH Prince Michael of Albany for unveiling the cairn.
Dr Seamus H Grant of RothiernurchUS for his address in Gaelic.
Hector MacKenzie of Skye for his prayers.
Judith Dyson of Kingussie for playing the lament.
Kenneth Borthwick of Dundee for the musket salute.

Afterwards an appreciative large crowd enjoyed the hospitality of the Coleman family at the Tomatin Inn who provided welcoming plates of soup and stovies. Music was provided by Clann an Drumma, Judith Dyson, James Home, Fred Jamison and Andy Shaw. It was a most enjoyable day which will long be remembered by those present.

The Cairn is located at Grid Reference NH 72968/34695.

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