By Mrs Mackinnon
Here is information about the battle of Mortlach. We found the information out of a book about Grampian battles. So here’s the information. The battle of Mortlach was fought in 1010 by King Malcolm the 2nd against the Danes. The Vikings approached from Carron House on Speyside four miles to the West of Duftown and camped at a place called Little Conval, while King Malcolm’s army had come from the East via Glen-fiddich and camped on the other side of the river at Auchindoun. The two armies met near the monastery of Mortlach beside a river called the Dullan Water which ran in between the two armies. The battle took place near the Giant’s Chair and the monastery of Mortlach. The Giant’s Chair is a bit cut out of a rock that looks like a chair fit for a giant.
Catching sight of the assembled Vikings the Scots attacked with more hast than sense! Three of their leaders were killed, the three leaders were Kenneth, Thain of the Isles: Dunbar, Thain of Laudian and Graeme, Thain of Strathern. They became rather confused and fell back a little. At this critical moment King Malcolm fell on his knees facing the chapel and prayed to God and St. Moluag for victory. In return the King vowed to build a cathedral church on the site of the chapel to testify that with God’s support, Scotland had been defended. In fact he made the chapel three spear lengths longer. (a spear length is four metres). The Scots attacked again and the Vikings retreated. King Malcolm is supposed to have thrown the Danish general Enetus off his horse and strangled him. The Scots pursued the Vikings up towards Balvenie Castle with great slaughter by the victorious Scots! Afterwards in the grounds of the castle they dug the grave pits where the dead bodies were thrown.
Mortlach is a parish name which came from St. Moluag. Dufftown is a much more recent name for the village.