Battle of Garbharry
The Battle of Garbharry was a Scottish clan battle fought in the year 1555. It was the last battle to be fought between the Clan Mackay and Clan Sutherland. It was fought "beside the water of Garbharry", at "the foot of the hill called Beinn-mhor, in Berriedale".
In 1555 John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland was commissioned by the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise to punish Iye MacKay, chief of the Clan Mackay for his failure to attend her in Inverness. The Earl destroyed the Mackay's main stronghold on the north coast, Borve Castle north of Farr, which the Clan Mackay had used to carry out raids on the Clan Sutherland. The Earl of Sutherland confronted Iye Mackay in Strathbrora, forcing him to surrender himself to imprisonment in Edinburgh. Iye Mackay's first cousin John-More Mackay then assumed power. He led a raid towards Helmsdale in Sutherland, and burnt the chapel of St. Ninian's at Navidale just north of Helmsdale before pulling back.
The Clan Sutherland then assembled a force under MacJames, the Terell of the Doil and James MacWilliam and set off in pursuit. They caught up with the Mackays in Berriedale, near Garbharry where the battle took place.
According the account given in Conflicts of the Clans, the Sutherlands overtook the Mackay men of Strathnaver men at the foot of the hill called Beinn-mhor, in Berriedale, and invaded them beside the water of Garbharry, where then ensued a cruel conflict, fought with great obstinacy. The Strathnaver men were overthrown and chased; about 120 of them were slain, and some drowned in Garbharry.
The Battle of Garbharry is cited as being the last battle fought between the Clan Mackay and Clan Sutherland. It would appear that this is the case as far as the chief of Mackays, who was designated as "of Strathnaver" is concerned, although 35 years later a half-brother of Mackay of Strathnaver fought against the Earl of Sutherland at the Battle of Clynetradwell.
- Foulis Press, 1764, "The History of the Feuds and Conflicts Among the Clans in the Northern Parts of Scotland and in the Western Isles: from the year M.XX1 unto M.B.C.XIX, now first published from a manuscript wrote in the reign of King James VI." The only changes made is the modernising of the orthography to 1890 standards:-- . electricscotland.com. Retrieved on January 05, 2013.
- Mackay, Robert. "History of the House and Clan of the Name MacKay" (1829). p.126 - 127. Quoting "A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland" by Sir Robert Gordon (1580 - 1656).
- Mackay, Angus. (1906). Book of Mackay. (St Andrews University). Printed by William Rae, Wick. Pages 286 - 287.
- Gordon, Sir Robert. "A Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland". Originally written between 1615 and 1625. Republished in 1813.
- Mackay, Robert. "History of the House and Clan of the Name Mackay". (1829).
- Foulis Press. "The History of the Feuds and Conflicts Among the Clans in the Northern Parts of Scotland and in the Western Isles" (1764)