The non-existent Gunn / Keith feud, Part Two
The supposed Gunn / Keith battles were –
1426 The Battle of Harpsdale. Sir Robert Gordon – see previous entry – does not mention Gunns in this battle. It was a battle where Mackays entered Caithness, and ‘inhabitants of Caithness’ (Gordon) fought back. Mark Rugg Gunn records this battle when discussing Gunn Keith battles and says ‘it is by no means certain that Gunns were involved’. So the Battle of Harpsdale did not involve any Keiths but some Gunns may have been involved as they were normal people living in the Caithness area.
1437 Knock Stanger (near Sandside, Dounreay). The son of the main Mackay in the above battle raided in the Dounreay area. So again this battle did not involve Keiths; some Gunns were probably involved as they lived in the area. Mark Rugg Gunn – in his Gunn / Keith battles discussion area - admits ‘Gunns are not specifically mentioned’ in this raid / battle.
1438 (ish – some dispute on date). Tannach Moor battle. Keiths of Ackergill are in dispute with ‘Guns and other inhabitants of Caithness … The Keiths, mistrusting their own forces, they sent to Angus Mackay …) intreating him to come to their aid; whereunto he easily condescended. Then did the inhabitants of Caithness convene in all haste…’ etc. (Sir Robert Gordon) Finally a battle involving the Keiths – nice change. But note the Guns are only mentioned – once - as part of the ‘inhabitants of Caithness’ and it’s not specifically an attack on them; it’s not Keiths versus Gunns, it’s Keiths (and Mackays) versus inhabitants of Caithness (including Gunns).
There is also the absurd story of a Manistanes Hill battle between the Gunns and Keiths – where the Devil helped the Keiths. It is obvious – I hope - why this story is to be discounted.
So, there were three ‘battles’ which supposedly showed a Gunn / Keith feud, only one of which mentioned the Keiths. That battle also mentioned the Gunns – once – but Guns were only representative of inhabitants of Caithness. And the Helen Gunn of Braemore story is just fiction.
There was no historic Gunn / Keith feud, it’s a myth like so much 'Clan' Gunn ‘history’.