Strathardle has been inhabited since the iron age and possibly even earlier. Remains of iron age huts and several large standing stones can be seen in the area.
The glen, as it is known locally, is liberally scattered with myth and legend, as well as the sites of ancient battles. The area owes its name to Prince Ardle, a nobleman who died in 903 AD at Enochdhu while fighting off the Danes. He was laid to rest where he fell and the burial mound is 18 feet long and 3 feet wide with a standing stone at one end and a small boulder at the other, having the result that many now refer to it as the Giant’s Grave.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries much of the land in the area formed part of the hunting grounds of the Kings of Scotland. To this day the area continues to offer outstanding sporting opportunities.
Kirkmichael, the largest community in the glen, has a Kirk which dates back to the 18th century however it’s built on a site used for worship for well over 1,000 years. The Kirk is surrounded by the original graveyard and at one end there is a mass burial plot for the victims of the Black Death of 1348.
Strathardle has always been well located for travelers and traders and a well known market was established in Kirkmichael which became one of the biggest livestock events in Scotland. Deals were not always so businesslike as the local people were often involved in feuds and skirmishes with caterans, who raided the area to steal cattle.
The Earl of Mar, standard bearer for the Jacobite uprising of 1715, raised his banner at what is now Bannerfield, in Kirkmichael, and departed with his men to the somewhat inconclusive Battle of Sheriffmuir. Exactly 150 years later Queen Victoria travelled through the glen and established the area as a place for holidays and relaxation.
September 6th 2014