MacKenzie Victory because of a Washer Womans Blunder

Strome Castle and Castle BayThe ruins of Castle Strome sit in the picturesque headland which once formed part of the ancient earldom of Ross. It became the focus of Clan fighting due to it’s strategic location between the lands of the MacDonalds of Glengarry and the MacKenzies of Kintail.

The castle was built in the early 15th Century and during the next two centuries the land surpassed too and fro between the rival clans according to the royal favour of the time, this intensified the bitterness between the MacDonalds and the MacKenzies and eventually spelt disaster for Strome Castle.

The year 1602 saw the castle under seige by the MacKenzies once again. After a long offensive the MacDonalds imprisoned in the castle for so long made two unfortunate blunders. According to an contemporay account some ‘silly women’ from the MacDonald Clan left the castle in order to draw water from the well, however they were so fearfull and the light was so bad they made the disaterous mistake of pouring the water into the gun powder vat instead of the water barrel.

When the MacDonald men discovered this blunder they cursed the women loudly, but this made matters worst. A MacKenzie prisoner overheard the commotion in the castle and managed to escape back to his own camp telling his Clan Chief what had happened. Which promted a final attack.

The MacDonalds knew they were facing a sure defeat, their only option was to surrender and to save their lives. Agreeing to this the MacKenzie Clan watched the MacDonalds leave they then blew up the castle. Strome Castle has remained in ruins to this day.


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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