Sometime after his massacre of the Lanark garrison, William Wallace learned that the Earls of Atholl, Buchan, Menteith and John of Lorne had aligned themselves with MacFadyen, the English appointed Lord of Argyll and Lorne. This combined force of thousands had engaged upon a campaign of wanton destruction throughout Argyll and had completely overwhelmed the local resistance organised by Sir Neil Campbell of Lochawe.
Wallace swiftly headed north with over two thousand men and confronted MacFadyen in battle at the Pass of Brander. The fight was inconclusive, however, and Wallace pursued Macfadyen through the mountains. Even using local men as pathfinders, the journeying was extremely arduous on the foot soldiers and Wallace toiled to find provisions for his men and horses. Eventually Wallace reluctantly had to leave the bulk of his men in Strathfillan, while he continued with an elite band of one hundred men on horseback. They were closely followed by his good friend and ally, Sir John Graham with a further one hundred men and finally by Adam Wallace with a reserve force of five hundred men.
At Glendochart, Wallace rendezvoused with the local resistance leader, Sir Neil Campbell, who reported that MacFadyen's army was beyond Loch Dochart. Despite being outnumbered, Wallace attacked MacFadyen's army at dawn on the following day, utilising the advantage of surprise. The battle raged for more than two hours and was extremely hard fought, but gradually Wallace’s men gained the upper hand. All surviving Irish members of MacFadyen's army were summarily executed, as they never asked for quarter – certainly none was given. But Wallace did spare the lives of those Scots who laid down their arms and begged for mercy.
MacFadyen had fled from the scene as soon as he knew that the battle was lost. But he was closely pursued by Duncan of Lorne and a large band of men, who found him hiding in a cave under Craigmore, shielded by fifteen bodyguards. Duncan returned triumphantly holding aloft MacFadyen's head as a trophy.
At Ardchattan, a mountainous region in Lorne, on the shores of Loch Etive, near Oban, William Wallace held a council at which he formally handed back Duncan of Lorne and Sir Neil Campbell their ancestral lands.