to be remembered

This is a story of maltreatment, anger, revenge and the thirst for power – a story about clan men and a disastrous battle. At the center of this story emerges a woman – Sidheag, sister of the MacLeod of Lewis and wife of Angus Mackay, 6th of Strathnaver. A woman trying to live within the clashing interests of powerful men.  She was the daughter of a clan chief, the sister of a clan chief and the wife of a clan chief whom she had born two sons. When her husband died 1403, he left the power over his estates and his sons to his brother Hugh, not to his wife Sidheag. Hugh and Sidheag had their differences.

It is not known, if she called for her brother’s help or if her brother felt the slight of his sister more strongly than she did herself but it is known, that he would not let it pass. He and his men raided Strathnaver, took cattle and other booty. But the Mackays were ready for them. The two parties met at Tuiteam Tarbhach at the head of the Kyle of Sutherland. It was not only a question of stolen cattle, this was about honour, power and dominance.

It must have been a brutal clash of the clans and no one knows, how many died on the battle field of Tuiteam Tarbhach. What is known: only one man survived: one MacLeod, left alive to tell the story.

Nothings marks the battle site but a much younger graveyard at the Eastern edge. It is named Tutim after the battle Tuiteam Tarbhach which is Gaelic for plentiful slaughter.

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Sidheag’s fate is lost in the male struggle for power and influence, her name no marker in history. Neither is that of the unknown MacLeod who survived the clan battle of Tuiteam Tarbhach.

Names remembered are those in the graveyard. History does not always record all those who deserve to be remembered.

Links & Sources:

Mackay Clan History

Tuiteam-Tarbhach oral recording

Alexander MacGregor: The Feuds of the Clans

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