The picture of the River Tilt in the header above was taken by Anne Burgess and is reproduced here by Creative Commons license. More details of the photograph may be found here.
I wrote about Glen Tilt over four years ago and you can follow the link for more details of the situation. Basically MacColla’s small Irish army is in a pretty fix. He has not succeeded in gaining many allies among the highland Scots and is generally viewed as a foreign invader. With Covenanter armies forming in every direction he has taken Blair Castle but has now very few options. The Athollmen who might be his natural allies are now turned out and have taken a position on the braes above the River Tilt. In the historic narrative it is now that Montrose shows up and puts everything right.
We will bend history a bit and assume that Montrose is delayed and is not communicating. MacColla is not immediately worried since with the Badenoch militia, who joined him under threat of fire and sword, he easily outnumbers the Atholl defenders two to one. He does not want to fight against them, however, as his chance of gaining support will slip from slim to none. At the same time he can not leave an enemy force at his rear (or blocking a possible escape rout through Glen Tilt). He goes off to pray about what to do when he is soon interrupted by wild cheering. The historical narrative has the cause of the celebration the arrival of Montrose. In our reality, however, it is the Athollmen cheering the Badenoch militia coming over to their side!
MacColla must now fight and at near even odds with the enemy holding the higher ground.
<All the following photos may be enlarged by clicking>
With the forces now in place, we’ll go ahead and fight the battle which likely will be bloody and short (but one never knows).
*Note: The Earl of Atholl’s regiment was disbanded after the Bishops’ Wars but I have the militia of the region carrying their colors as it likely contains many veterans of that regiment. The Badenoch regiment carries the banner of the Clan Chattan association and a Saltire in matching colors. With the exception of the Atholl Saltire all the banners in Inchbrackie’s army are fanciful.