A large area of open ground on the west bank of the River Ardle, just south of the village of Kirkmichael, is known as the Bannerfield. It was here in September 1715 that John Erskine 6th Earl of Mar raised a flag in support of the exiled Stuart King James VIII, known as the Old Pretender, and gathered a large body of Highlanders at the start of what has become known at the 1715 Jacobite Rising or Rebellion – a bold move which was to come to an end two months later with the effective defeat of Mar’s hastily assembled army at the Battle of Sherrifmuir. Tradition has it that a gilt ball on top of the flagstaff was dislodged by a high wind and fell to the ground – seen by many as an ill omen and recorded in the following verse. “But when the standard was set up, / Sae fierce the wind did blaw, man, / The golden nit, upon the tap / Down to the ground did fa’, man. / The Hielandmen looked unca glam, / They didna’ like’t at a’ man, / And second-sichtet Sandy said / We’d do nae good at a’ man.”. Since that time the Bannerfield has become the venue for the annual Strathardle Highland Gathering, now celebrating its 136th year.