History of the Stewarts | Battles and Historic Events
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The battle was fought to resolve competing claims to the Earldom of Ross. Robert Stewart, duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had taken control of the earldom as guardian of 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.
First the Lord of the Isles defeated a large force of Mackays at the Battle of Dingwall. He then captured Dingwall Castle and advanced on Aberdeen with what may have been as many 10,000 men. Near Inverurie he was met by 1,000–2,000 of the local gentry hastily assembled by the earl of Mar.
After a day of fierce fighting there was no clear victor; Donald had lost around 900 men before retreating back to the Western Isles, and Mar had lost 500. The latter could claim a strategic victory in that Aberdeen was saved, and within a year Albany had recaptured Ross and forced Donald to surrender. However Mariota was later awarded the earldom of Ross in 1424 and the Lordship of the Isles would keep the title for much of the 15th century despite subsequent attempts to subdue them.
The ferocity of the battle gave it the nickname "Red or Reid Harlaw"