The Battle of Corrichie: a 16th-century contest returns to Aberdeenshire

15/06/2023
Dr Arran Johnston, historian and professional battle re-enactor, as the Earl of Moray, ready to resurrect the Battle of Corrichie at Banchory, Aberdeenshire, this summer.

A BLOODY 16th-century battle will be re-enacted this summer near the Aberdeenshire site of the real-life event some 460 years ago. A milestone in Scottish history, the Battle of Corrichie of 1562 saw the region’s feuding clans clash in furious battle at Craigton, Hill of Fare, an event that will be reproduced at the Milton of Crathes by Banchory on 6th August, 10am – 5pm.  

Through drama, music, archery, falconry, witchcraft and storytelling, this family-friendly event will transport visitors back through the ages, offering a fascinating glimpse of what life was like for the clans people of Aberdeenshire. Tickets are now available at www.battleofcorrichie.com   

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“This dramatic event is for all ages, with a host of historic and present-day attractions to keep children and adults entertained for hours,” explains Event Co-ordinator, Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce. “You can step back through the centuries with a stroll through our living village of 1562, chat with a real-life modern-day witch, or grab a bite to eat or a bouncy castle break in our modern village. And don ’t miss the main spectacle, at 1pm and 3:30pm, when men and horses will clash in battle in the main arena. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from near and far to what is sure to be a great day out.” 

The Battle of Corrichie was fought near Meikle Tap, the eastern most summit of Hill of Fare, north of Banchory, on 28th October in 1562. It was fought between the forces of George Gordon, the 4th Earl of Huntly, against the forces of Mary Queen of Scots, under James Stewart, the 1st Earl of Moray.The Earl of Huntly had lost the territories of Moray and Mar, which he considered his heritage, so he became an enemy of the new Earl of Moray, who was the half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots. 

Dr Arran Johnston, Director of the Scottish Battlefields Trust, who has a background in performing and co-ordinating historic events, will lead the battle re-enactment. “It’s fantastic to be involved in bringing the Battle of Corrichie to life and sharing the story of the feuding Highland families of that time,” he says. “Fiercely independent and loyal, these hard-working men and women of the 1500s fought for their beliefs and helped to shape the character of modern-day Aberdeenshire. Besides the spectacle of the battle itself, visitors will be able to meet the actors and learn about the clothing, weaponry and tactics of the 16th century soldier, and cheer them on as they show off their skills in the saddle. We’ll end the event with a short act of remembrance to remember those who lost their lives that day.” 

For further information and to book tickets visit www.battleofcorrichie.com  

The event marks the culmination of a number of clan events being held across the North East of Scotland this year, including the Aboyne Games the day before, and closes the 700th anniversary of the Burnett of Leys and Irvine of Drum families in Deeside. Organised by St. Nicholas Productions in connection with the Leys Charitable Trust, proceeds from the event will be directed towards funding local community causes including the Loch of Leys restoration, a long-term project to preserve and restore the physical, biological, cultural and historical features of this important site. 

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