The Jacobites had fought all the way from the Highlands to Derby in England.
Outside of the Highlands it was becoming clear that Prince Charles and his claim was of no interest to Lowlanders or the Northern English, where very few supporters were coming forward. The Stewart intention of using success in Scotland as a stepping-stone towards the throne in England again looked unrealistic. In December they began a careful withdrawal, denying the Hanovarians the chance of a weak spot to exploit.
Back in Scotland the Jacobite numbers rose again to eight thousand and they began a siege of Stirling Castle. To aid the trapped government force, General Henry Hawley left Newcastle with eight thousand troops.
On 16 January 1746, Hawley was in Callendar House, near Falkirk, resting before the Stirling confrontation. He woke, however, to find the Jacobites had come to meet him and were massing on the plateau behind the house.
The Hanovarians rushed to get onto the high ground also, but the scramble up the muddy hillside through the morning mist was disorganised and disastrous. Less than fifty Jacobites were lost in the twenty minute rout which took the lives of hundreds of Hawley’s troops.
The Hanovarians made for Linlithgow and the Jacobites resumed their siege.