Pitscottie, in his history, states that the Earl of Arran was able to muster his men on the 3rd September in which time he was able to send letters to Lennox calling on him to turn back. Arran's men spent the day preparing defences at the brig and on the overlooking hills. They installed the guns being brought up from the palace and Blackness and sent word to Edinburgh on Lennox's progress. In response Angus left the raising of the levy in Edinburgh to his brother and took a force of some 3,000 men to Linlithgow on the morning of the 4th.

It is here that historians differ in their accounts. Pitscottie states that Douglas reinforcements arrive with Arran before the battle begins. However Drummond has the Douglas men arriving during the fighting and their arrival decided the outcome of the battle as:

'at which alarum many of the highland men and Westland men turned their backs'

Most historians agree that the George Douglas efforts to raise the Edinburgh levy were thwarted by the tardy King and failed to make the battlefield in time. They were at Corstorphine Cragg when the sound of artillery was heard and a messenger reached them declaring the day won. At this point the King despatched Andrew Wood of Largo to rescue as many of the rebels as possible. He rode hard to the field to find Lennox dead and the Earl of Glencairn fighting a last stand.

Lennox, on the other hand, had camped somewhere between Stirling and Linlithgow on the night of the 3rd. He to would have had an early start covering the remaining distance to the Brig where he would have found it occupied, held a council of war and then ordered the flanking march. All of which would have taken some time possibly most of the morning. 

Accounts differ in the events after the battle; some state that Douglas hastened to Stirling that night to intercept the queen. Pitscottie however opts for the victors having a great party in the palace.

Adair's 1684 map showing the mains routes from Crammond to the AvonSo taking all this into account can we work out when the battle was fought? Experts reckon that a Renaissance army primarily made up of foot and dragging artillery can average 2 miles an hour. Douglas's men were probably mounted and not burdened by an artillery train and could make a better speed - say 2.5 to 3 miles an hour. Linlithgow lies 18 miles from Edinburgh Castle. Giving that Douglas would have left at dawn at around 6.00am. This would make his time of arrival in the early afternoon. George Douglas did not leave Edinburgh by all accounts until after the fighting had started. He failed to get to the field in time for the end of the battle (some 7 hours of marching) meaning that the battle was over by early evening. Wood travelled halfway with the King and Douglas then rode hard to save the rebel leaders (say 9 miles at 2 miles and hour then the remaining nine at 5 miles per hour - say 61/2 hours) arriving as the last blows are being struck around 6.00pm. Nightfall would have brought an end to any pursuit.