Battle of Kinloch Lochy (The)
T:Battle of Kinloch Lochy
S:Fraser Collection (1874)
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BATTLE OF KINLOCH LOCHY, THE. AKA - "Blar Leine." Scottish, Slow Air. G Minor. Standard tuning. AABB. The event at Kinlochlochy (the head of Loch Lochy) in 1544 was a fierce clan conflict between the MacDonalds of Lochaber and Glengarry (aided by the Camerons) against the Clan Fraser, aided by the Grants and Clan Chattan. It arose from a dispute regarding the chieftanship of the Clanranald; the MacDonalds supported one Ian Moideartach (John Moydartach or John of Moidart), while the Frasers promoted Ranad Gallda or Galda (Ronald Gualda), the grandson of the chief of the Clan Fraser, Lord Lovat. The King's agent in the north of Scotland, the Earl of Huntly, took the opporunity to punish Clanranald for their plundering of the lands of the Grants, and marched north with his army, joining with the Frasers, Grants, Clan Chatten and others. This alliance succeeded in placing Ronald Gallda in charge of Moidart, but on the return journey Huntly, who now led the force, divided them at a stream flowing into Loch Lochy. One part of this divided force, comprised of the Frasers under Gallda, along with men of Urquhart and Glen Morrison, was set upon by Ian Moideartach and his men as they came to a narrow pass the the south end of the Loch. A great defeat was dealt to the Frasers and Gallda was slain, along with Lord Lovat and many of the clan gentry. Neil (1991) says "it was probably one of the fiercest battles that has ever been fought by the clans involved and many of the traditions regarding it still persist in Highland song and story." Captain Simon Fraser, who composed the tune, erroneously translated the alternate title as having to do shirts, but Neil maintains the name "Blar Leine" came from the ground the battle was fought on--the Gaelic 'blar' being a plain or field, and 'leine' signifying a wet plain, and, in fact, he says there are several place names in the area of the battle such as Lianachan and Lianda which refer to marshy ground.
Printed sources: Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1874; No. 8, pg. 3. Neil (The Scots Fiddle), 1991; No. 153, pg. 197.