Model created to mark anniversary of local battle
To mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw, a magnificent model of the battlefield, created by Aberdeen Wargames Club will go on display, on Friday 22 July, at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill.
The Battle of Harlaw, a Scottish clan battle was fought on 24 July 1411, just north of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, to resolve competing claims to the Earldom of Ross, a large region of northern Scotland.
At the gallery on Saturday [23 July] members of Aberdeen Wargames Club, who will split in to two teams; those of the Highland and Island army under Donald, Lord of the Isles and the other representing the Lowland and East Scotland army supporters of the Earl of Mar, to recreate in a figure wargame, one of the bloodiest battles of the medieval period.
The Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had taken control of the earldom as guardian to his niece Euphemia Leslie. This claim was contested by Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had married Euphemia's aunt Mariota.
Donald invaded Ross with the intention of seizing the earldom by force; he defeated the MacKays at Dingwall, captured the castle then advanced on Aberdeen with 10,000 clansmen. Near Inverurie he was met by 1,000-2,000 of the local gentry, many in armour, hastily assembled by the Earl of Mar. After a day of fierce fighting there was no clear victor. Donald had lost 900 men before retreating to the Western Isles and Mar had lost 500 men.
Mar could claim a strategic victory in that Aberdeen was saved however within a year Albany had recaptured Ross and forced Donald to surrender. Mariota was awarded the Earldom of Ross in 1424 and the Lords of the Isles kept the title for much of the 15th century.
Aberdeen City Council's Art Gallery & Museums Manager Christine Rew said: "It's a great pleasure to be collaborating with the Aberdeen Wargames Club to commemorate this significant local battle.
"This is the first time we've hosted a recreation of a battle and I'm expecting lots of visitors to come along and experience this unique event. The model which the club has created is superb and shows the battlefield in amazing detail. It's a great tribute to the skills of the Aberdeen Wargames Club's members."
Andy Douglas, of Aberdeen Wargames Club, added: "We have previously commemorated several local battles but this is the first time we have put on a display away from our regular gatherings.
"Agreeing to work with Aberdeen City Council for the 600th anniversary commemorations gave rise to an ambitious project that is now almost complete. It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase our interests to the general public, and hopefully we can enlighten people both about the battle of Harlaw, and also warfare in late medieval Scotland."
The model of the Battle of Harlaw will be on show until Sunday 31 July 2011.
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Opening Tuesday Saturday 10am 5pm
Sunday 2pm 5pm
For more information on Aberdeen Wargames Club visit www.aberdeenwargamesclub.com